Church Army - Inspire November 07
There may not have been room at the inn for Mary and Joseph, but Church Army’s POSADA gives you the chance to make room for Jesus Mexican-style this Christmas.
POSADA (a Spanish word meaning ‘inn’) is the title for a very special Mexican celebration of Christmas, where two young people dress as Mary and Joseph and travel from house to house proclaiming the imminent arrival of Jesus and asking that the newborn babe be given a room.
On Christmas Eve they re-enact a community play and bring figures of Mary and Joseph to be placed in a crib.
Church Army have updated this concept so that YOU can give a home to the nativity figures of Mary and Joseph, and be reminded of the need to make room for Jesus in our lives, homes and communities.
The idea is that each night from the fourth Sunday before Christmas, nativity figures travel around your parish, workplace or community, arriving at your church just in time for the Christmas Eve service to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
During advent last year, Church Army evangelist Kinder Kalsi brought the Mexican tradition to the streets of Langsett in Sheffield when he enlisted the help of Mary and Joseph and hit the streets in full Mexican garb to spread some good cheer – along with tortillas and sweets – and share the good news of the birth of Jesus.
"I am delighted that so many local businesses have caught our vision for sharing the good news through POSADA,” says Kinder. “The nativity figures moved from shop to shop during Advent to remind customers and shop workers of the importance of making room for Jesus this Christmas. Shoppers were asked to drop their good news stories into the boxes we left in local stores."
Local shop owner Toni from Acropolis the Hairdressers said: "This is something really different, it helps with the Christmas spirit and cheer and is a bit of fun, when there is so much bad news out there."
Allah from Babylon Market added: "This is a good way to link the community and the church, and promote what happened at Christmas."
Taking part in POSADA is easy and incredibly rewarding. All you need is to get the pack from Church Army and encourage your friends, family, school or work mates to provide a home for Mary and Joseph each night in the lead-up to Christmas – they sign up to a journey rota, you provide the nativity figures and off you go. You may even want to strengthen the links with POSADA’s Mexican origins by using the special wooden nativity sets from Christian charity Toybox, which is committed to providing hope for the most disadvantaged children, young people and their families, principally in Latin America.
Making POSADA a success won’t be difficult – people are very happy to offer a home to Mary and Joseph and you will be amazed at the places Mary and Joseph could visit in your community.
POSADA is as broad as your imagination and will become an invaluable outreach tool as the figures of Mary and Joseph travel within the community, going into not only people’s homes, but also into schools, care homes, shops, workplaces and hospitals.
Some groups have just used a painting of Mary and Joseph; others have made their own representations using a variety of materials. Others have sent more than one set of figures round their community, because so many wanted to be involved. One community used eight different sets! Some communities have reported how much their people valued delivering the figures to the new host and praying with them.
People choose to celebrate the arrival of the figures in any number of different ways: some have parties, coffee mornings, a short service, prayer time … the list is endless. POSADA is an expression of hospitality and love and how we choose to celebrate this is important.
Why not try some even more adventurous ideas? The supermarket, the high street, a nursing or care home – even a prison … thinking laterally, there are lots of ‘homes’ to include or make the focus for Mary and Joseph’s journey.
POSADA is a free resource brought to you by Church Army. To find out more on how you can make room for Jesus this Christmas using POSADA, check out www.churcharmy.org.uk/posada or phone 0208 309 3519.
Do you work in a school or do you have children or grandchildren still at that age? Get them and their class involved in POSADA. Each child can take the figures home for a night. It’s a great way to teach the true meaning of Christmas. We have had some tremendous feedback from teachers and children who have used POSADA.
Why not have Mary and Joseph’s journey totally within your local supermarket? One of our evangelists creates a huge chart in the foyer of the supermarket. Each day leading up to Christmas, cut-out figures for Mary and Joseph move to different squares. He has a chart of explanation as well as collecting boxes and literature. On various days, children’s choirs from schools come and sing and there is a ‘service’ on Christmas Eve – all in the supermarket’s foyer.
Most probably you work in an office with both Christians and non-Christians. Why not send round an e-mail to see if people would like Mary and Joseph on their desk for the day, as well as for the night? It is a great way to get to know people – a real talking point!