All of us love Christmas; in fact, year in and year out, we look forward to this event. We take great effort in prepping up our homes as early as November to prepare for the Lord’s coming birth. Immediately after, the Sunday after Christmas, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph; a liturgical celebration in the Catholic Church in honor of Jesus of Nazareth, his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and his foster father, Saint Joseph, as a family. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families.
Today’s Christian family is a challenged family. Poverty, work employment, decent living and health, are some of the current issues affecting every Christian family. We see the same challenges that the Holy Family had during their time. In the Gospel account, we read that Joseph and Mary brought the Child Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: “Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”.
The Holy Family lived in poverty, despite their being “highly privileged” in the eyes of God. According to the Law, the prescribed offerings are usually lamb or goats, however; two young pigeons were accepted as sin offerings from the “poorer people”, and as purification offerings. Why can God allow the Holy Family to be poor? Many of us find it hard to imagine the Holy Family living in abject poverty. Yet in God’s infinite wisdom, He shows us that the Holy Family is a “human family”.
Being poor, they were a “challenged” family, a very much human family. They handled all sorts of difficulties and challenges that life has to offer, to share our human experience that we may share in His divine life. Despite being challenged, the Holy Family was a very pious family. Joseph and Mary were apparently observant Jews, making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year with other Jewish families. They showed us that even in poverty, one can handle life’s daily challenges. That despite these issues, it is possible for one to be holy and obedient to God.
We celebrate Christmas because we are reminded as the Church proclaims, “Your Son shares our weakness: may we share His glory.” We celebrate the Season lest we forget that God loves us so much, that He sent His only Son to save us from sin. And this feast of the Holy Family we are reminded we can always strive to be holy, in our own humanly way. Let us be like the Holy Family to the world!
To be like the Holy Family, we must find time to read the Word. We must pray regularly to God. Doing so will make us better families, holy families. Only then can we become light of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to the world!
Have a blessed Season!