“Sanctuary is often something very small not a grandiose gesture, but a small gesture toward alleviating human suffering and preventing humiliation. Sanctuary is a human being, sanctuary is a dream. That is why you are here and that is why I am here. We are here because of one another. We are in truth each other’s shelter”
On Sunday, December 10, we are invited to participate in a beloved Latin American tradition known as “Las Posadas.” Rooted in the spirit of sanctuary and the practice of hospitality, Las Posadas commemorates the perilous journey of Mary and Joseph. According to the biblical narrative, Mary was about to give birth when they were forced by a Roman-mandated registry to leave their home in Nazareth and travel to Judah. Along the way, tired and afraid, they knocked on doors looking for shelter and were turned away. Shortly after their child was born, they were forced to get on the road again and flee towards Egypt because the king had ordered the slaughter of all male infants.
This is a story of migration, of despots who rule without mercy, of laws that are intended to strip away people’s dignity, and most of all, a universal story about ordinary people trying to keep their family safe. It is a story that transcends religious affiliation and asks “Who will find room in their heart for people in need?”
Now more than ever, this narrative resonates with our current circumstances as a nation. We are living in a time of constant fear, in a climate that encourages hatred and rejection, the enactment of Muslim bans, and horrific anti-immigrant rhetoric from the White House resulting in families being torn apart. Yet, we are also living in a time of growing national resistance. As Unitarian Universalists, we are witnessing more and more of our congregations joining the Sanctuary movement and standing on the side of love. The celebration of Las Posadas brings communities together to celebrate and practice acceptance, hospitality, and solidarity.
This December 10, we invite you to join us in re-creating Mary and Joseph’s journey. We will gather at church at 5 pm for a candlelight procession around the neighborhood. We will walk together singing Christmas carols and the traditional songs of Las Posadas. If 4 for any reason you cannot join the procession, you are for any reason you cannot join the procession, you are invited to join us at the church for the annual Holiday party beginning at 6 pm. We will share a community meal and there will be games for children of all ages. This Christmas at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Church in Hayward, resistance will take the shape of children dressed in shepherd’s costumes singing: “Paz, queremos paz y libertad en este mundo!” “Peace, we want peace and liberty in this world!”
Resistance will be our community walking together in solidarity with all immigrants and refugees, embodying both the suffering and the hope, and reaffirming our Unitarian Universalist principles as we sing: “In the name of heaven, we ask for shelter. We are tired, we cannot walk any more… Grant us compassion…Please, open the doors of your heart…” and a choir responding “Come in, come in blessed pilgrims! Our home is humble, but we offer it to you with all our hearts!” Resistance will be sitting at the welcome table, sharing a meal and sharing our stories. Resistance will be lifting our voices singing of peace, liberty, and love.
Beloveds, may this Holiday Season bring us closer together as we continue to build the Beloved Community without borders. With Love and Blessings, Rev. Maria Cristina