My turn: Christmas 101

Christmas is only four days away. Amidst this last minute hustle and bustle, it’s a fitting time for pageants, posadas and poinsettias to steer us from the commercialism of the holiday and back to Christmas 101.

For starters, I didn’t know until I recently attended a Mariachi Christmas production in Hobbs that the poinsettia comes from South Mexico. This vibrant red Christmas flower was called “cuetlaxochitl” by the Aztecs, or Mexican fire plants. Poinsettias were brought to the United States by Joel Roberts Poinsett, a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

Christmas time is called Advent, a time of waiting or expectation. For many of us, Advent began right after Thanksgiving and this great expectation is highlighted in the Mexican tradition of Las Posadas, which is re-enacted every night up until Christmas Eve. Las Posadas is a traveling pageant in which Joseph and Mary are portrayed going from one destination to another, nightly until Christmas Eve. It is performed by song as the holy family is continually turned away until they find lodging in a stable.

The Nativity Story has been called the “greatest story ever told.” The Bible calls it prophecy fulfilled. I like Pope John Paul II’s definition of Christ’s birth: “Jesus: The human face of God and the divine face of man.”