Editor’s Page – December 2023

This is the time of year where we stop to celebrate our Holidays unique to our individual beliefs. The Ojo Staff Wishes you a Blessed Holiday Season, and we leave you with this story by Sergio Casas.

My Family’s Christmas Posada

By Sergio Casas

My Mamá asks me “Martin, do you want to accompany me tomorrow to the market to buy what we need for the posada?”

“Yes, Má, I’ll go with you,” I reply.

After spending the night thinking and dreaming about what gifts I asked the little baby Jesus, I woke up and went down to the kitchen to have a glass of milk and delicious sweet bread.

“Bring the bag for the market, we’re leaving soon,” says my Mamá. I go to the patio and there hanging from a nail is the jute bag. I take it and run to the door where she is waiting for me. At the market she chooses oranges, tangerines and pieces of cane.

Back home my Mamá tells me, “The baby Jesus cannot always bring the children everything they ask for. So don’t be sad if he doesn’t bring you what you put in your letter. Do you understand Martin?”

“Yes, I know. Whatever he brings me is fine.” I respond.

“Okay Martin, put the bag on that chair, if I need you to help me, I’ll talk to you,” says my mamá.

On the street I find boys playing marbles, they invite me to play.

We play for so long my knees hurt.

“Martin, come so you can eat, it’s getting late,” my sister Nena shouts.

“See you at your house in a little while,” the boys tell me.

After lunch, everyone prepares for the posada. All the family is helping put together the bolos (treat bags). Eva has her mouth full marshmallows, she can’t talk. My brother Mario throws candies at my sisters.

My Mamá shouts, “Mario, stop throwing candies, and Paco stop eating peanuts, we don’t want to be short.”

Now we finish. The bolos and candles are lined up on the table.

The neighbors begin to arrive, “good evening, Doña Lupe,” they say as they enter.

“Well, let’s start with the rosary, Our Father who art in heaven…” my sister Perla begins the prayer while my sister Eva holds the rosary.

After the rosary it is time to ask for a posada that reminds us of the night that baby Jesus was born when Maria and Joseph had to ask for lodgings. Some of the neighbors go out to the street with Doña Amparito who is the godmother of our baby Jesus. She and her husband hold the figures of the Virgin Mary on the donkey and Saint Joseph. Paco passes the matches to light the candles.

Everyone with their candle lit in front of the door of the house begins to sing;

“En el nombre del cielo os pido posada pues no puede andar mi esposa amada.”

In English…

“In the name of heaven, I ask you for lodging because my beloved wife cannot walk.”

The people inside the house respond:

“Aqui no es mesón sigan adelante yo no puedo abrir sigan adelante, no sea un tunante.”

In English…

“Here is no Hostel, go ahead, I can’t open the door, you could be a thief.”

The song goes back and forth eight times and on the ninth time those inside sing:

“Entren santos peregrinos, peregrinos reciban este rincón aunque es pobre la morada la morada se las doy de corazón.”

In English:

“Come in, holy pilgrims, receive this corner, although the dwelling is poor, I give it to you from the heart.” As they sing, they enter the house.

My Mamá gives the baby Jesus to his godmother who made him a crochet dress, like she does every year. While she dresses him, we sing:

“Aromas se quemen de plácido olor delante del niño derrámense flores adorenle reyes y pobres pastores y cantos entonen a Dios salvador.”

“Aromas burn with a pleasant smell, before the child lay flowers, kings and poor shepherds worship him and sing songs to God the savior…”

When the baby Jesus is dressed, the godmother puts him on a tray and surrounds him with candy eggs, sweet snacks and other treats. One of my sisters passes the tray and one by one, each of the attendees kisses the little baby and takes a candy. When everyone has their candy the singing ends.

The godmother takes the little baby and places him in the manger between the figures of Joseph and Mary.

We all watch in silence. Se me enchina el cuero; means my skin has goosebumps.

“Thank you for doing this all these years Doña Amparito” says my Mamá.

“It’s a pleasure, Doña Lupe, thank you for opening the doors of your house,” answers the godmother.

Some neighbors are here to pray then go home to their families. Others stay.

“Mijas, go serve the tamales and atole,” my mamá shouts.

Paco, my youngest sister Sonia, and I sit on the patio stairs to eat.

My Papá enters dressed in a black suit and white bow tie with his French horn. My Mamá welcomes him with a kiss.

“How was it at the Christmas concert?” she asks.

“Well, it was a lot of people,” says my Papá.

“I’ll bring you tamales and atole in a moment,” says my Mama.

It feels good to be among happy people.

I go in the room to look at the nativity. I love how it looks with the miniature figures; the moss and sawdust like grass and desert sand, the roof on the small stable that my Papá made for the pilgrims; the angel, sheep, donkey, cow, horse, the shepherd carrying a little lamb, the three holy kings, the little pond that my sister Perla made with a mirror to place the ducks. And, of course the red devil with tail, wings and horns stuck in a little cave could not be missed.

While I stand there my brother Mario comes in with some of his friends for dinner. One of them says, “did you know that the baby Jesus doesn’t come to where the children are awake?”

Without another word I take my shoe off and put it on the tray with my letter to baby Jesus inside. And I go to bed. Paco and Sonia do the same.

I think about what my Mama told me about the gifts I may or may not receive. It doesn’t worry me. What I look forward to every Christmas is this; my family’s posada, the songs, the excitement, the food, the friends at home. Gifts are not the main thing. I’m not a baby anymore. In January, I turn 9 years old.

Between the music and the noise outside I fall asleep.

I wake up and put on some pants and run downstairs to the living room.

At the foot of the nativity there are wrapped boxes beside our shoes. I take what is beside my shoe. I take the paper off and find a plastic baseball bat, a helmet, a ball, a white shirt with blue shoulders and a bag of socks.

The baby Jesus brought Paco the same thing. I put on my shirt and my shoes. “Let’s go outside and play,” I tell Paco.

“Yes, let’s go,” he answers.

Outside we start playing. Some of the neighbors do the same; girls with dolls and jump ropes, boys with toy cars, skates and balls.

My Mamá calls from the door, “come grab a tamale, you haven’t eaten anything.”

We run, take the tamale, and sit on the sidewalk. Between bites I think, this is the best part of the year. Christmas makes everyone happy.

Then when I enter the house, I stop in front of the nativity scene, “Thank you little baby Jesus for the gifts.”

For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Sergio Casas
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