19

December 2022

Dec

Los Posadas

God of the Dark and the Light

Los Posadas, Year A

Los Posadas is not really a preaching service, so there aren’t any preaching notes this time. What we provide in this space is the encouragement to embrace this gift that comes from the Hispanic tradition.

References


  • Psalm 80
  • Malachi 3:1-6a
  • Mark 1:1-8

Note to the Teacher

This week is completely different and could serve as a beautiful way to combine a “Christmas party” that your group might traditionally do with a powerful intercultural worship experience. Los Posadas (Shelter) comes from Hispanic traditions and is a reenactment of the holy family searching for shelter. Because this comes from Hispanic traditions, consider reaching out to Hispanic or multi-cultural congregations in your area to see if your groups might partner in this beautiful experience. This also intersects with modern issues around refugees. Connecting with refugee organizations in your area or national groups like Exodus International could bring another level of relational partnership to this experience as well.

Los Posadas is experienced as a journey over several nights. Here we are condensing it into a single experience. If you have several people who live near one another and would be willing to let you journey from house to house, that would be the best option; however, if you don’t have that available, you can set the different locations in different rooms in your church or different areas in a large room. To make this as flexible as possible, we refer to “locations” below, and you decide how those locations are defined. Plan ahead and confirm availability off the spaces or homes that you will visit. This week’s activities may also include food if you choose, so recruit people to provide refreshments to lighten the planning burden.

An adaptation for a virtual space may be to prepare different backgrounds to use in a video conferencing app. This week’s lesson really is most powerful in person.

Entering the House

Each location begins with a group outside the location—led by Mary and Joseph—and a group inside. There is a call and response feel to this liturgy (below) that highlights the pilgrimage and the search for shelter. This is adapted from the United Methodist Book of Worship. The complete liturgy can be found here.

Knocking on the door from the outside, a person begins:

Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking;
if you hear my voice and open the door,
I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.
(REVELATION 3:20)

People outside the home say:

Who will give lodging to these pilgrims
who are weary of traveling the roads?
We have come exhausted from Nazareth.
I'm a carpenter, by the name of Joseph.
In the name of the heavens, I beg you for lodging,
my beloved wife can no longer travel.

People inside the home answer:

Although you tell us that you are weary,
we do not give lodging to strangers.
We don't care what your name is; let us sleep.
We are telling you that we will not let you enter.

People outside say:

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him;
yet the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name,
he gave power to become children of God.
(JOHN 1:10, 12)

People inside say:

Who are the children of God?

People outside say:

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
(ROMANS 8:14)

People inside say:

To what does the Spirit of God guide us?

People outside say:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your mind.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
(MATTHEW 22:37, 39)

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self–control.
(GALATIANS 5:22–23a)

People inside say:

How do we know we love the Lord and have faith?

People outside say:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if you say you have faith but do not have works?
Can faith save you?
If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
and one of you says to them,
"Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,"
and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
(JAMES 2:14–17)

People inside switch on all the lights and say:
Enter, good Joseph; enter with Mary.

Reading and Discussion:

Each location will have a reading of the story and discussion. Consider doing this over food, either as a progressive dinner or drinks and snacks at each location.

Location 1: Mark 1:1 –8

Read the scripture and ask this question: “How can we prepare the way for God this Christmas season?”

Location 2: Luke 1:5 –17

Read the scripture and ask this question: “What is a hope, dream, or goal you have that God can use to help others?”

Location 3: Luke 1:26 –38

Read the scripture and ask this question: “What could you do in the world to make a difference that seems a little scary to you?”

Location 4: Luke 1:39-56

Read the scripture and ask this question: “Who supports you when things get tough? When have you had to lean on them?”

Location 5: Luke 1:57 –66

Read the scripture and ask this question: “Who do you think you are going to be in the future? What is something you’d like to use your life on as you grow older?”

Location 6: Matthew 3:1 –12

Read the scripture and ask this question: “What is something churches do that drives people away and does not show the love of God? What is something you can do to change that?”

Location 7: Matthew 1:12 –17

Read the scripture and ask this question: “Who are people who have gone before you (alive or not) whose examples you want to follow as you work to bring the love of God more fully into the world? Tell us about them.”

Location 7: Luke 1:67 –80

Read the scripture and ask this question: “What are some of the things your caretakers, parents, grandparents, or other significant adults in your life have said to you or hoped for you that have helped you?”

The Piñata

Have a piñata set up at one of the locations. The piñata is part of the traditional celebration. Explain to students that the piñata represents the devil/tempter/temptation that cannot be recognized easily. People are blindfolded to represent how difficult it is to recognize evil. The rod that people hold symbolizes virtue. When we persevere to the end, the glory of God will rain down on everyone.

Reflection questions on the Piñata:

  • “Why can evil be difficult to recognize in our world? Are some times easier to recognize it than others?”
  • “When we do recognize evil, or something that doesn’t seem just, why isn’t confronting it as easy or as simple as swinging the stick?”
  • “Who in our lives helps us to persevere and engage evil with good or love?”

The Last Location and Closing

At the last location, there should be a slightly different final response and then a closing prayer at the end (again, adapted from the Book of Worship):

Final location opening response:

People inside switch on all the lights and say:

Lodging we will give you with much happiness;
enter, good Joseph; enter with Mary.

The doors of the home open, and all enter.

People inside say:

Enter, holy pilgrims. Receive this corner
not of this humble home, but of our hearts.

Final location closing prayer

Host family offers the following prayer:

God all-powerful,
grant that we may rid ourselves of the works of darkness,
and that we may invest ourselves with the weapons of light
in this life to which your Son, Jesus Christ,
with great humility came to visit us;
so that in the final day,
when he returns in majestic glory to judge the living and the dead,
we shall rise to eternal life through Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
now and forever. Amen.

In This Series...


Los Posadas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Blue Christmas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Eve, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Watch Night, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes New Year's Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes

References


  • Psalm 80
  • Malachi 3:1-6a
  • Mark 1:1-8

In This Series...


Los Posadas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Blue Christmas, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Eve, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Christmas Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes Watch Night, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes New Year's Day, Year A - Lectionary Planning Notes