The Word of God

A Family For Christmas

Reflection on Mass Reading for December 27, 2020

More than a couple of decades ago, a young boy lay in his hospital room trying to recover from a respiratory disease that almost cost him his life. He was asleep late one night at the hospital with his father sleeping in a cot next to his bed when he suddenly lost his air and began to choke to death. The nurses were as professional and helpful as they could be and saved his young life. Minutes later, the little boy sat up in the bed and asked his father a most surprising question: “Daddy, am I going to die?” His father, who was about 30 years young, thought hard and prayed over his answer. “Why do you ask me that, Son? Are you afraid to die and go to Heaven and see God?” His response was as touching as it was profound: “Oh no, Daddy! I’m not afraid to go see God. Not if He is like you, Daddy.” “God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons.” 

Each family member’s role in a home is so crucial and critical, but none are so central as that of a father. Fatherhood propels the family’s dynamic as it was with the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We can easily see the blueprints for a happy and blessed family in the very core of those three wonderful holy and saintly figures that maintained Jesus in his infancy and adolescence. “The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.” 

Not everyone, however, is given the same abilities or situations. Many of us come from hurting and broken families. The path ahead for those may be daunting and difficult but not impossible. Because of the Holy Family, we have the hope and instruction to become whole and integral members of our family systems and, more importantly, society. “Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.”

“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” Desmond Tutu


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