This is our house, last night, Christmas Eve. Several years ago my sweet wife, ever the initiator and go-getter, proposed that our entire block participate in the Mexican tradition of Christmas Luminarias. And now, every house on our block is part of this simple beauty.
This humble method of placing lighted paper bags mimics the 16th-century Spanish tradition of the bonfires that led the way to midnight Mass on the last night of Las Posadas, which celebrates the biblical story of Mary and Joseph's search for a place to stay. European missionaries introduced Catholicism to the indigenous people of Mexico in the 1500s, spawning Las Posadas processions that re-enact Mary and Joseph's trek through Bethlehem.
At our home, the luminarias come right up to the front door. If we can, and its not too cold out, we might leave the front door open. Hopefully, Joseph and Mary would be welcome in our home, as would the precious baby Mary carried for nine months of wonder. Wondering "why me, what is going to happen, what will he be like?"
As I bent to light each luminaria last night, it became an act of simple worship. Joseph and Mary, and Baby Jesus, come by here. Please, come by here.
May it be so, with each day, with each challenge of the coming year. Merry Christmas!