Crossing Borders

1 Comment » Written on December 30th, 2014     
Filed under: Testimonies and Stories
Evelmyn Ivens was born in Mexico and moved to the United States during her teenage years. Graduated from North Park Theological Seminary in 2013 with a MA in Theological Studies and works at the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) in Chicago. Evelmyn has lived in Los Angeles, CA, Washington, DC, and Chicago, IL, enjoys traveling and learning about other cultures. She’s passionate about issues of immigration, hunger, poverty, and human trafficking.

This Christmas was very particular for me because I would usually travel several days before Christmas Day and spend it with family in Southern Mexico. However, this time I was on a plane on Christmas Eve on my way to Tijuana, Mexico to visit family. Even though, I lived in Southern California for many years I never crossed the border into Mexico, so this was about to be my first time. I flew into San Diego and made my way to the San Ysidro border crossing. As I was walking along the pathway with many others, some with suitcases like myself, others with presents and all dressed up for Christmas Eve celebrations, others looked like they were going home from work, and I couldn’t help to think about Las Posadas and the birth of Jesus. Also I couldn’t help to think about the unique experience of those who get to cross back and forth between the countries, and that get to taste the diversity of cultures, language, expressions of faith, etc. What an experience!

It made me think about Las Posadas  because, Las Posadas are a celebration to commemorate the difficult journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem, and in Mexico is celebrated since the colony. Traditional tales narrate that Joseph accompanied by his wife Mary, walked from Nazareth to Bethlehem to meet their tax responsibilities. It took them nine days to reach their destination and when they got there Mary was about to give birth. When they were rejected at the inn and at some other places, then they where able to find refugee at a manger offered by some kind people. This is a passage known as Las Posadas, celebrated for nine days leading up to Christmas.

This celebration is based on the Luke 2:1-7 passage:

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

As I was crossing la línea (the border), kept thinking of the difficulty of Joseph and Mary’s journey. Mary being pregnant and about to give birth in an unknown place, and to think that back then there was no public transportation, as today. Then I remembered a story I got to hear back in the summer of an Ecuadorian young woman, who out of desperation decided to travel to the north with the hope for a better life. The young woman was pregnant and gave birth in Guatemala and with a newborn continued her journey to the Mexico-Texas border where she ended up being detained. I was visiting a refugee center in McAllen, TX when I heard this story, I didn’t get to see her but she was there in a tent with her newborn. As someone who migrated to another country I cannot disconnect the story of Mary and Joseph with the story of this young woman. The circumstances of the birth of Jesus were not optimal just as the birth of the young woman and her baby. Yet, the big difference is that Jesus was the messiah and his birth transformed our world. The young woman’s baby, well, I will never know… but I pray for them often.

Out of all those who make the journey to US from Latin American, women and children are the most vulnerable, facing danger and all kinds of abuse. Today I pray for those women, young women, pregnant women and their children who put their lives in danger in the hope for something better.

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One Response to “Crossing Borders”

Thanks Evelymn – Whether crossing borders or living on the margins — the journey to something better is only marked with danger points. Thanks for sharing this story and bringing new perspectives to the Christmas journey. 

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