is the feast day of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, the Mother of God, who
in 1531, not long after the Spanish Conquest, appeared to Juan Diego,
an Indian convert to Christianity, on a hill outside what is now Mexico
City.  To the amazement of Juan Diego, and to generations of
Mexicans since, she appeared in the form of a young Aztec girl.

Since that appearance, she has become both patron saint and national
symbol of Mexico, the embodiment of its own peculiar form of
Christianity.  She endured through all the anti-clerical episodes
of Mexican history and her image is omnipresent in the country today —
an abiding solace and guide.

This Christmas season might be a good time to think of her children who
are living in the United States without proper documentation, in
constant fear of the law, scorned and reviled by many but working hard, supporting their families
here and back in Mexico and contributing untold millions to our economy.

These are, for the most part, good and gracious people, industrious and
committed to sacrifice almost anything for their children's
future.  We are lucky to have them among us.  Their children are our children.

Feliz navidad, compadres!