"Who will give lodging to these pilgrims who are weary of traveling the roads?”
As a child in Mexico City, Elizabeth recited a version of this line every year at Christmastime.
She and her neighbors — decked out as a sort of mobile Nativity scene — marched down their block re-enacting the search for room in the inn.
The children knocked on doors and could expect at least a few rejections before finally a neighbor welcomed them inside. There, they enjoyed a party featuring delicious food, warm camaraderie and a piñata ready to burst with candy.
The tradition, popular in Mexico and increasingly in the U.S., is called Las Posadas. The Spanish word posada means inn or lodging. Think of the ritual as a bit like trick-or-treat but with a message of Feliz Navidad.
What was a fun childhood custom now has special resonance for Elizabeth, 24, and her immigrant family.
Like Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and her family journeyed in search of safe lodging. They too faced shut doors and real peril.