Originating in Hispanic countries to celebrate the nativity story, Posada is a period of time during Advent when figures from the nativity story travel around different households in the community and stay there for one night.
Families can sign up to take part and then become hosts to the holy family for one night during Advent. During this time, children have an opportunity to learn more about the Christmas story, and everyone can meet others from their community as the figures are passed from one house to the next.
Two parishes in Lichfield use Posada in slightly different ways. Denise Keane from St Mary’s, in Mucklestone, explained that Posada works well through the church’s strong links with the local Church of England school.
She said: “We have a midweek Sunday school after school, and children who go to this make the Posada figures. We launch the journey of Mary and Joseph at a family service in church where families can sign up to receive it, but children can sign up at school as well.
“A book comes with Mary and Joseph so that children can record photos, and there’s a selection of prayers, or they can write their own. It all ends up back in church at the schools’ carol service on a Friday afternoon.”
Curate Becky Richards, from Tixall with Ingestre said Posada was very popular in their parish: “We use figures that older people from our two congregations have knitted, so the figures themselves aren’t breakable. Our older gents make the crib.
“The figures travel around in a story bag with a copy of the Christmas story, plus a diary into which all those who host Mary and Joseph, (and the donkey), can write in their experience. Also included in the bag is an Advent candle and this can be lit and burned down one section on the night which Mary and Joseph stay with the family.
“There’s also a short dialogue people can say on the doorstep when they pass the figures over to the next person. It encourages families to visit each other, and the rota is interleaved with older contacts, who have no children, so it gets them meeting a wider set of people around them. People have found this really helpful because they’ve chatted and got to know different people – it builds links between young and old.”
In 2018, Posada could be adapted to this year’s Christmas campaign #followthestar, by replacing Mary and Joseph with the three kings to journey around the community. Place them in a box decorated with stars, along with 24 ‘star’ invitations – one for each household – which gives all the details of the Crib service at the church where the kings’ journey ends.