Posada is a Spanish word meaning ‘inn’, and ‘Posada’ celebrations originated in Mexico where two young people were chosen to dress up as Mary and Joseph. They used to travel from house to house in their village telling people about the imminent arrival of Jesus and asking if they could give them a room. On Christmas Eve they would re-enact a community play and bring figures of Mary and Joseph to be placed in the crib. Within our parish, we undertake this in the form of passing around the figures from our parish nativity scene. Follow the journey here:
Take Part 2017
We finally made it! Mary and Joseph arrived in Stone Church during the Crib Service on Christmas Eve and have now taken their place in the stable beneath the altar. There were so many of you who came to welcome them that it really did feel like a homecoming. Thankyou everybody who came. We believe it was approximately 200 adults and children. Thankyou also to all the households that offered hospitality along the way.
Thankyou as well to everyone who took part in the service – readers, angels, shepherds, wise men, and our live Mary and Joseph too.
Although the presents will have all been unwrapped, the turkeys cooked, and the last carols sung, this is just the beginning. God’s son came into the world and his spirit is still with us. One day he will return and we must always be prepared for his coming.
Happy day after Christmas
And merry rest of the year
Even when Christmas is over
The light of the world is still here
(from ‘Happy Day after Christmas’ by Matthew West)
During the Crib service we placed our figures of the wise men at a distance from the stable because they are still travelling. We know that Jesus was a young child by the time they found him. We will be celebrating their arrival in our ALL AGE FAMILY SERVICE at 10.30am on 7th January. Everyone is welcome !
PS If you have thoughts of your own on our posada or Advent preparation in general please send them in to our website.
Are we nearly there yet? Yes we are!! just one more night before we welcome Mary and Joseph into the church at the end of their long journey. To those of you who have taken part – thank you for your hospitality. To those of you who wish you had taken part – join us next year!!
Our annual posada is a shared journey. It is something we do together. We are all links in a chain. We are one community, wanting to reflect on the miracle of God taking on human flesh. Fully human, and fully divine.
‘We give thanks for the fellowship that belonging to a community brings. Thank you Lord for the church of which we are members. Bless all who share in its life and worship. Amen’
Lord Jesus, help us to share the good news of your coming with those around us. Prepare us in mind and spirit as we wait for you to return to our world once more. Amen’
Mary and Joseph are still travelling for now. They have moved on to Dinton from where they will come to Stone Church. Join us there at 4pm on Christmas Eve when we will gather to welcome them.
After Jesus was born, some wise men heard that a King had been born. They wanted to find the King so that they could worship and honour him. As you know, the wise men did not have a map or a sat nav to guide them to Bethlehem, they had something even better. God gave them a star to guide them. When they found Jesus they gave him gifts and bowed down and worshipped him. Of course we do not know the exact nature of the star. Many theories have been put forward from scientists much more clever than me. The important bit to remember is that the wise men came a long way and were persistent in their desire to find the new king.
Wise men today are still seeking Jesus. We don’t look for him in Bethlehem, because he is no longer there. He is on his throne in heaven. We don’t need a map to help us find him — we don’t even need a star to help us find him. We can find our way to Jesus by reading God’s Holy Word! The Bible is our map and our star that leads us to Jesus.
‘Dear Lord Jesus, we seek you today because we want to worship you and crown you as our King. We are thankful for the Bible which we have been given to lead us to you. Amen’
Mary and Joseph have travelled back from Upton and are visiting Beacon Close.
Some of Israel’s great heroes were shepherds — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. Both Psalm 23 and Jesus compare God’s care to that of a Good Shepherd. But at the time when Jesus was born shepherds — specifically hired shepherds — had a reputation for dishonesty and for stealing. Jesus however distinguishes between the good shepherd and the hired shepherd. He tells a parable of the shepherd leaving ninety-nine sheep in the fold while searching the hills to find the missing one. Perhaps this is because Jesus, who spent his time with the despised and sinners, knows and appreciates them as people. There is no suggestion that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were not devout men but they would not have held any status in society.
How amazing it is then that the angel brings the joyful news first of all to these ‘salt of the earth’ types – a Saviour – the expected Messiah has been born! Extraordinary news coming to very ordinary people! Christ the Lord, born not in a palace, but quietly, humbly in the back streets of Bethlehem. We are told that the shepherds ‘hurried off’ to Bethlehem to find the baby and when they had seen him they ‘spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child’. Let us all follow their example and with joy share the good news with our neighbours and friends.
Mary and Joseph are continuing their journey in our parish. They have now visited Ford Road and moved on again to Upton.
We all love the story of the Nativity, and we picture Jesus as a baby laying in a manger with his mother Mary caring for him. Yes, it is an incredible story that the son of God should take on human form in this way. Yet it is even more incredible that the baby grew into a man who had power over life and death and eventually died for each one of us. The words of this popular song reflect on how much of this Mary would have understood when she cared for her baby son. We too must reflect on the whole story of Jesus both as baby and as a man.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you
Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God
Mary, Did You Know? lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
Meanwhile, our Mary and Joseph are still travelling. They have moved on to Whitechurch Close where they have found comfortable lodgings.
Giving and receiving Mary and Joseph on our posada is a special moment that requires us to think about what it means to receive Jesus not only into our home, but into our heart as well. This is what it says on the instruction card in the picture:
Deliverer: Will you receive Mary and Joseph into your home tonight?
Receiver: We / I will
The deliverer then hands over the figures
Deliverer: Will you make room for Jesus in your heart(s) this Christmas?
Receiver: We / I will
Deliverer: Lord Jesus Christ, prepare our hearts to welcome you now, and
may we be ready to welcome you when you come again. AMEN
While the figures are with you please take time to reflect on ways in which we need to prepare ourselves for our Saviour’s coming. May God Bless you through this experience.
Whether or not you have taken part in the posada this year it is still important to make room for Jesus in our hearts this Christmas. We will be thinking about this together at the Crib Service on Christmas Eve when when Mary and Joseph finally arrive at the stable. Will you be there to welcome them ?
Happiness is an emotion that can disappear as quickly as it arises. Joy on the other hand is different because it is a choice we make. God gives us that choice. We can choose to live in an attitude of resentment, anger and fear or we can choose to pursue the joy of Christ. Which way will you choose? And what choices are we actually making?
- Joy means trusting when you want to doubt.
In other words we need to share Mary’s response to the coming of Jesus, “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). This is an incredible response from a young girl who has just been told by an Angel that she will have a son when she hasn’t even married Joseph yet! Mary made the choice to trust in God.
- Joy means receiving what you want to reject.
Can you imagine how the innkeeper would have felt if he said to Mary and Joseph, “Of course you can’t stay in that stable! That’s for paying customers. Who do you take me for?” I doubt he would have known deep joy. In reality we find joy in making room for people in need.
- Joy means celebrating when you want to fear.
What is the first thing angels say when they appear to mortals? In just about every divine encounter the angels say: “Fear not.” We can imagine Jesus instructing His most trusted angels. “OK, let’s go over this again … Most of the people that I’ll tell you to speak to will be scared out of their wits! So let’s practice the greeting one more time.” Then the angels would all say in unison, “Fear not.”
Our Mary and Joseph have moved on to another home, this time in Lee Crescent. Let us pray that they bring joy to the family who have chosen to receive them.
God isn’t just interested in people who are powerful or clever or important – he loves all of us in our ordinary lives, and he calls each of us to our own special path in life and gives us the gifts we need to walk it.
Loving God is an ordinary part of our ordinary lives, but some people find it extraordinary; some people might even make fun of us. The trick is to show people that loving God is not extraordinary or ridiculous, but a very normal part of life!
‘Lord God, you love me just as I am. Help me to show other people how much I love you in my normal daily routine. Please protect those Christians around the world who cannot do this and let them know that we will do whatever we can to help them. Amen.’
Mary and Joseph have travelled on their own special path from Bishopstone to Aylesbury but will head back into the parish soon.
We are more than halfway through our Posada for this year. Advent is a bit shorter this time because the fourth Sunday falls on Christmas Eve, as close to Christmas day as it could be. When December 25 was chosen as the date to celebrate the birth of Christ it was not because it was thought to be the actual date that Jesus was born. It was the time when pre-Christian people were celebrating the new birth of the sun. Christians who believed Jesus to be the true light of the world thought it would be a good time to celebrate his birth. The first official mention of December 25 as a holiday honouring Jesus’ birthday appears in an early Roman calendar from 336 A.D.
We will never know the precise date that Jesus was born, but that doesn’t matter. We just need to celebrate that he did come into this world, and he brought the light of God’s love with him.
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light’ Isaiah 9:2
Mary and Joseph have travelled to Bishopstone where they will be well cared for.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” John 3:16-17
How do you feel when a friend gives you a very expensive present? embarrassed, unworthy, humble, or all of these?
The most precious gift God has given us is his son. Through him we have received the fullness of his love. How should we respond? there is a well-known chorus that goes like this:
Freely, freely give;
Go in my name and because you believe
Others will know that I live’
Through this Advent season Mary and Joseph will be given 21 times and received 21 times. Each participant RECEIVES first and then GIVES, and so it is with the gospel. We have already received from God and so we should respond by giving, or passing on his love to others.
After being received in Chiltern Close Mary and Joseph were given and received in Oxford Road and then again in Sinclair Gate, and then again in Oxford Road. God’s love goes with them to each home they visit. Let us keep passing it on.
Sometimes God asks us to go on a journey that we were not expecting. There are many examples of this in the Bible – such as Abraham, or the WiseMen after the birth of Jesus. Journeys can be very exciting, but sometimes they can be frightening too, especially when we do not know where they will lead us. God never asks us to travel alone though – he always walks alongside us, wherever we go. If we go on God’s journey, we do not need to be afraid, and we can be a blessing to everyone we pass on the way.
‘Lord God, I cannot always see where my journey is heading; please stay close by me as I travel and bless those who travel with me. Amen.’
Christmas can be for many a nostalgic time of year, filled with warmth and peace, family and friends. But it can also be for some a time of struggle, sadness, even isolation. Around the world we see the challenges of homelessness, refugees, economic want, violence and terrorism. It is into this very world that our Lord Jesus Christ entered; and it is His Church that has been given the mission of offering hope and salvation in His Name. We must share not only the Good News of Jesus’ birth but also his love in practical ways.
‘We pray for your Church Lord, the Body of Christ. May we be so filled with your love for others that our actions touch the world with hope which lasts – even when the Christmas decorations have been put away. Amen’
Mary and Joseph have moved on to Oxford Road.
No matter how old we are I am sure we all have memories of Christmas from our early childhood. Take a few minutes to be still and bring to mind the sense of wonder when you first heard the story of the birth of Jesus. Maybe you still have a set of nativity characters from your own childhood that you fetch down from the attic each year. We will be setting out the Church Nativity figures on Christmas Eve in our Crib Service, and reminding ourselves of the wonderful news of the birth of Jesus. Everyone is welcome.
Meanwhile we pray that our Mary and Joseph will be a focus for that sense of wonder and expectation in every home they visit, and not just for the children.
Today they have moved on from Roundhill to Chiltern Close.
Today in church we lit two candles on our Advent wreath because it is the second of the four Sundays in Advent. Each of the four red candles reminds us of those who prepared for the coming of Christ.
Advent 1 The Patriarchs – we focus on Abraham our father in faith, and David in whose city Jesus was to be born.
Advent 2 The Prophets – we reflect on the way the birth of the Messiah was foretold in the scriptures.
Advent 3 John the Baptist – he prepared the way for Jesus and baptised him at the start of Jesus’ ministry.
Advent 4 Mary – chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus.
Christmas Day – Jesus Christ the light of the world – the central white candle
Lord Jesus, light of the world,
the prophets said you would bring peace
and save your people in trouble.
Give peace in our hearts at Christmas
and show all the world God’s love.
Have you seen this year’s Christmas advert on BBC TV? it features a hard working single Dad and his daughter who is practicing her dance routine for the school Christmas concert.
The daughter is hurt because she feels her dad has not been paying her any attention as he is always busy, often on his phone. When the girl steps out onto the stage at her big performance, she first thinks her dad is not there to support her and she is on the verge of tears. Then she sees him sitting at the back and, he hops onto the stage. He reminds her of the all-important dance moves she’s been practicing and we see them dance together in perfect harmony.
Our Heavenly Father is never too busy to listen to us. We always have his full attention. Sometimes though we can feel as though he is not listening. What joy when we discover that he has not only been listening all along but that he is there beside us as well! We might not recognise that until the moments we step out of our own comfort zone and acknowledge our dependence on him.
I am always amazed at Mary’s response when she is told by the Angel that she will have a baby ‘I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said’. Mary would soon be moving out of her own ‘comfort zone’ but she trusted totally in God to be with her – and so must we when we step out on our journey of faith with him.
Mary and Joseph have moved on to Cottage Grounds but they found time on their journey today to call in to the Jubilee Pavilion for refreshment at the Parklife café. Were you there to see them ?
Most of us are familiar with Advent customs such as calendars (with or without chocolate!), Advent wreaths with candles, and Advent candles themselves. While these traditions are popular they aren’t the only way that Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Around the world there are other customs too. Many (but not all) are part of the Catholic tradition.
In Alpine countries children carry a statue of Joseph to a different home each night during Advent. Then on Christmas Eve Joseph is put next to Mary in the stable. There are similarities here with our village Posada but in our custom Mary travels with Joseph as a representation of the journey they took together to Bethlehem.
Our Posada is based on the Mexican tradition which originally came from Spain. However, in Mexico people dress as Mary and Joseph and process through the community from house to house. They only do this for the last nine days of Advent though.
This year is our fifth Posada and it has already become an established custom. We hope you enjoy taking part. We hope it brings us together as a community, waiting and preparing for the birth of Jesus.
Our Mary and Joseph have now travelled to Eythrope Road.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…….and everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. Luke 2:1-5
We have all seen the Christmas card images of Bethlehem. It looks cosy and heart-warming when we see it that way. Today Bethlehem is in the West Bank and is administered by the Palestinian Authority. It has a Muslim majority although there are Palestinian Christians too. Bethlehem is very busy with tourists at Christmas time.
Let us pray for peace and safety in the town of David at this time of political unrest.
Our Mary and Joseph have found a safe place to spend the night in Badgers Rise.
A few days ago I went shopping in a well known Aylesbury supermarket and it was very busy. It did not take long for me to become separated from my husband who had gone off somewhere with the trolley. ‘Never mind’ I thought as he should be easy to spot if I walked up and down the central aisle looking left and right. In my mind I was saying ‘short grey man in a brown coat’……….’short grey man ……..brown coat’…………..’short man with grey hair wearing a brown coat’…………..’brown coat’………’short man’…..’grey hair’……’man in brown coat NOT answering his phone’. After a while I wondered if I had seen him but not recognised him. There were too many short men – too much grey hair – and why was everyone wearing a brown coat?
This simple example reminds us that we need to slow down and take careful notice of what is going on around us. We might think we know what we are looking for, but will we recognise it when we see it? There are many signs of God’s presence in the world but do we really see them? And do we take the time to enjoy them? Maybe you can see Him in the beauty of the sunrise or in an encounter with someone you have met. Before you go to sleep tonight think back through your day and say thankyou to God for all the signs of his presence that you have recognised.
Our Mary and Joseph have found shelter tonight in Beacon Close.
In the Bible there are lots of examples of waiting. The people of Israel waited for many generations for their Messiah to come but they had to be patient just as we need to be during Advent. When we watch the news on the television and see the troubles around the world people often ask ‘Why doesn’t God do something?’ it can be hard to understand why he doesn’t seem to intervene straight away.
In Matthew 13:24-29 Jesus told a parable about a field of wheat with weeds growing in it. The servants of the farmer wanted to pull the weeds up straight away but the farmer stopped them because they might pull up the wheat as well. He told them to wait for the harvest when they would be more easily separated.
This parable is all about waiting and watching but waiting and watching is what we find difficult – we need to pray for patience! This is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit who can help us to live as God’s people.
Mary and Joseph have now moved on from Creslow Way. They have found more friends in Faithfull Close.
The weeks before Christmas can be busy and noisy, particularly in households with children. Enjoy your family time together even though it can be exhausting! You are storing up a bank of memories that you can treasure for years to come. Even so we all need moments and places where we can be silent too. As we are silent we learn to listen. We discover how to pay attention to what is going on within us and to what is happening around us. When we have learned how to listen we can also listen to God. You might only hear him faintly, but as you do so you can catch his whisper of love.
Mary and Joseph both listened to God and did as he told them. Our Mary and Joseph have now moved from Faithfull Close to Creslow Way.
Welcome to our Posada for 2017. Mary and Joseph were seen off on their journey from the Advent Service in church this morning.
Advent is the season when we look towards the coming of Jesus in two ways. First of all we are looking to Christmas when we celebrate the birth of Jesus as a human baby. We know that we will do this on December 25th. However, we are also looking towards the second coming of Jesus because the Bible tells us he will come again. We do not know when that will be.
So we must WAIT for the celebration of Christmas and we must BE READY for when he comes again.
Let us go together on our journey of preparation for both. Meanwhile, our Mary and Joseph have found a place to stay for the night in Faithfull Close.
Our Posada 2017 is nearly upon us.
If you would like to take part,
Please EMail: Jenny.Pickup@stonedintonhartwell.com
Mary and Joseph have arrived safely at the stable. Were you there to meet them ? thankyou to the many families who helped them on their way during Advent.
Hope is born. God has sent his son into the world in the form of a tiny baby. Praise be to God.
May you all have a peaceful and blessed Christmas.
Are we nearly there yet ? yes we REALLY ARE NEARLY THERE ! Mary and Joseph are close to their destination. Just this one last night in Dinton and then they will arrive at SJB in Stone for the Crib Service at 4.00pm. Will you be there to greet them ? and will you make room in your heart for Jesus not just at Christmas but each and every day ?
We have been travelling with Mary and Joseph for many days now, and we know that we are near the end of our journey. This year more than ever though we have been reminded in the news that tens of thousands of people around the world have been travelling with few possessions and no safe place to stay.
‘Heavenly Father we pray for those who have no safe place to call home. We pray too for the aid agencies who are helping them, and for the governments and authorities who could bring an end to the conflicts that have caused so many to become refugees in foreign lands’
Our Mary and Joseph have been welcomed in Dinton tonight.
We have reached the shortest day of the year. It is the day when we have the least amount of daylight and the world can seem dark and gloomy. We do not know the actual date of Jesus’ birth though some scholars suggest it was more likely to have been in April. However, it is appropriate to celebrate it in December because Jesus is the Light of the World and he brings light to us when we most need it. It is helpful during Advent to reflect on our own lives and recognise the areas of darkness within us that need the light of Christ. Remember too that darkness is only the absence of light. Light always overcomes darkness.
Mary and Joseph are continuing their journey around Dinton and Ford.
Are we nearly there yet ? nearly but not quite. We still have another three nights to go before Mary and Joseph arrive at the Crib Service. We know the place and we know the time. SJB Stone at 4.oopm, but all those years ago the Messiah had been awaited for many generations without anyone knowing when or how he would come. So it is today. We know he will return one day but we do not know when or how. Let us pray that we are ready to receive him when he does.
Meanwhile our Mary and Joseph are still travelling in Dinton.
Mary and Joseph have been well received everywhere they go. They are certainly loved here and being well cared for.
They have now returned to Dinton and have more homes to visit there and in Ford. It is now less than a week until they arrive at the stable in SJB Stone.
We are now into the final week of our Advent journey. Mary and Joseph have been received, cared for , and passed on by many pairs of hands, and many prayers have been said. As they continue to wend their way through the parish let us all prepare our hearts and homes to receive Jesus this Christmas time.
Mary and Joseph have moved on to Whitechurch Close to stay with another family who are receiving them for the first time. We welcome all our hosts who have joined us for the first time this year.
God of hope
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
be with us in our meeting
and in our travelling together,
be with us in our worship
and our praying together,
be with us in our Advent journey
to the stable and beyond,
our God of hope.
Mary and Joseph are still travelling. They have now moved back to Stone where they have been welcomed in St John’s Drive.