Study: What is going on in my family right now? What dynamics, concerns, and strengths are we facing?
Pray: Call upon God’s grace for your family. Be specific and practical!
Serve: How can we help bless our families right now? What can we do to strengthen and unite together as a holy family?
During this holiday season I am amazed at how many people reorganize their schedules and events to accommodate the many family events that happen during this time of the year. Many people spend long hours on the road, sometimes celebrating Christmas two or three times with different branches of the family tree.
For some people this time of year can be a mixed blessing. The stress of traveling with uncertain weather, compounded with the hectic expectations of the commercial side of the season, can sometimes lead us to view Christmas as an exercise in frustration. This frustration is particularly true when we add the unique issues that are part of our own family.
All of us are part of a family. Some big, others small, some scattered across the globe, others spaced along a couple of city streets. In our extended families there are people we can’t wait to see, and there may even be some who are difficult to get along with for a conversation. Within our families there is usually a mixture of joy and sorrow, peace and discomfort, calm and chaos.
Yet like it or not, God has planted us within these groups of people to help us find our place within the larger world. Our families help define who we are, how we experience life, and what our dreams and hopes are for the future. With all their strengths and weaknesses, our families help us understand the meaning and purpose of our lives.
The fact that we celebrate the family of Jesus helps us realize that God is present within our families, too. The “Holy Family” was not perfect. Hardship and persecution followed them before and after the birth of the baby Jesus. They struggled and suffered like every other family, celebrating the joys and sorrows that accompany us all through life.
The struggles of the Holy Family help us see that the journey of our own families is not an easy one. Yet we can take hope that just as God was present to them, so too will the Lord strengthen us.
The feast of the Holy Family can remind us all that God truly walks with us in our own families. Within the blessings and limitations that exist in our families, we recognize God’s loving touch – shaping our lives and helping us see the “Holy Ones” that God has placed in our midst.