EDMOND â€” Devils aren't part of most traditional Christmas festivities.
But Spanish teacher Lisa Day started the Las Posadas festivities this week at St. Mary's Episcopal School with the cry of, â€œThe devils are coming, the devils are coming.â€
Fifth-graders Ellie Howell and Elizabeth Turner, dressed in red, with horns on their heads and bearing a red pitchfork, played the part of the â€œdiablos.â€ They ran from classroom to classroom warning innkeepers, or posaderos, not to let travelers stay the night.
â€œDon't let them in,â€ the devils warned, â€œthey might be robbers.â€
Elizabeth explained how she and Ellie got their jobs.
â€œWe were supposed to be soloists, but we didn't want to do that, so we decided to add a new part to Las Posadas,â€ Elizabeth said.
Las Posadas, the students explained, is a Mexican Christmas tradition that recreates the search for lodging by Mary and Joseph, or in this case, Maria and Jose, on the night Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
The devils' job was to ensure the weary couple could find no lodging.
As Maria, Anna Hall, and Jose, Michael Adkins, prepared for their part of the journey, Day reminded them to look exhausted.
â€œRemember how tired you are,â€ she coached.
The travelers went from room to room reciting in Spanish a request for lodging. The innkeepers in each room turned them away, waving their hands for them to go â€” heeding the devils' warnings.
Students from each classroom then joined the procession, carrying tissue-paper poinsettias, an important part of the Las Posadas tradition.
When they reached the chapel, it was the school's first-graders who finally welcomed Maria and Jose, giving them a place to stay where their baby could be born.
â€œIt seems fitting that the youngest children be the first to welcome them,â€ narrator Sara Salomon, a fifth-grader, said when all the children gathered in the school's chapel.
â€œWith each year of age, it seems easier for us to get further from the truth. There are more distractions: more things we want, more things to do, and less time to really think about preparing our hearts for Jesus,â€ Sara read from a script.