The fourth day of Christmas December 28 — the Feast of the Holy Family and third day of Kwanzaa.
I met this young couple at a welcome station in the mountains of Virginia in October 2007. As I ponder this image I see Joseph and Mary and Jesus in them. May their be a touch of holiness — of wholeness — in their lives and in our families. I pray for them and all young families — indeed all families on this traditional day in the Christmas season when we reflect on the hidden, ordinary life of Joseph, and Mary and Jesus in Nazareth. They are a model of simplicity for us.
But for many of us our family life was (is) very dysfunctional. I think of those families today, Lord. Children (many friends of mine) who grew up with alcoholic parents and were in favor one moment and cast aside the next, who who had little normalcy, little stability.
Just last night, Lord, you allowed me the grace to strengthen a young mother who needed the courage to at least temporarily separate herself and the children from fearful dysfunction. Be with her, Lord. Be with all families that struggle, Lord. Be with us who are imperfect and weak and selfish and perhaps capable of little love because we may not have received it ourselves as a child.
We’re trying, Lord. Strengthen our capacity to love, to be present to our children and our spouse. Help us realize, Lord, that the most important role is not to have a successful career but to love our children and our spouse. To be a community of love in which to call forth the gifts, the love. the moral courage and strength of of their children for the next generation.
And so, on this Feast of the Holy Family may we honor you, Jesus and Mary and Joseph. as I honor this young couple whose name I do not even know because I saw in them an image of God in their simple, ordinary love. Lord, keep us all in your loving care.
priest / writer