With great joy, we continue to celebrate the birth of Jesus through the Christmas season.
This weekend we celebrate the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This celebration reminds us of the importance of family. This year family is especially important; because of the pandemic, the suggestion has been that we limit our celebration to the members of our immediate household.
At the same time, "family" can be “messy." Things don’t always run peacefully and calm. And this year as we have all spent more time at home, we have all probably experienced more of that messiness. Our homes have become offices, schools, gyms and playgrounds, in addition to all of the usual family experiences. That makes the focus of the readings this weekend a great reminder of the importance of family.
We don’t really know much about the family life of Mary and Joseph, but I would guess they experienced some of the messiness that all families experience. I’m sure at times Joseph annoyed Mary when he left his tunic laying on the floor. And I’ll bet Joseph was frustrated when Mary cleaned up his workbench and he couldn’t find his tools. I’m sure they
experienced the everyday challenges that all families experience.
In the Gospel today, Mary and Joseph are amazed when Simeon and Anna remind them that their son is extraordinary; that he was destined for great things. Mary and Joseph knew that Jesus was the son of God, yet when they hear it again in the temple they were again amazed. They needed to be reminded that their family was special, despite the messiness that they might have experienced.
That’s important for all of us to remember. Whether our family is large or small, nearby each other or spread across great distances, all families are special and precious, despite the messiness that we experience. Christmas is a great time to focus on family. This is a season of hope, a season of joy for the light of Christ has come into the world.
My prayer for you this Christmas season is that even if our celebrations are different than the past, that we take time to reflect on the blessing of family. This year especially, let’s hold on to Christmas as long as we can. Too often we are in a hurry to store all our Christmas decorations away. I often wonder why. We still have a lot of winter to go. Let’s celebrate the light that has come into the world for all of us who have lived in a dark year. Let’s celebrate the hope that Jesus brings to all. Let’s celebrate the love that God has for each and every one of us.