Gifts have been opened. Songs have been sung.  I’ve eaten too many cookies this week.  So what has Christmas meant to me this year?  
I attended all the Posadas in our parish and couldn’t help but think of the people in many parts of the world, including our own border, who, like Joseph and Mary, are asking for posada, a place of welcome, protection, shelter.  They eventually found shelter in a stable.  I have had the privilege of working in El Paso in a hospitality center for asylum seekers, mainly from Central America, and will be going again in February.   I continue to be  impressed by the graciousness of the people of that city in providing shelter, providing posada.  
Christmas this year reminds me, too, that Joseph, Mary and Jesus had to seek asylum in Egypt.  They returned to their own country only after the danger was over.  Later in his life, Jesus gives us this commendation:  “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” 
As I begin this new year, I reflect 
Who are the strangers in my life?  How do I welcome them?  How can I be an “ in-keeper” and not an “out-keeper”?
LouAnne Willette, OP
Austin, TX


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