Reflection for the Feast of the Holy Family – Dec. 26, 2021

By Phyllis Chandler, Notre Dame Associate

“The child grew in size and strength, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”  Luke 2:40

These words are the last we read in the gospel of Luke until Jesus is twelve years old.  For us, particularly those who have raised children, we find ourselves wondering what those years were like.  Did Jesus go through the same ages and stages of development as other children?  We are told that he “was obedient” to Mary and Joseph, but how did he express his fully human/fully divine nature on a day-to-day basis?

Feast of the Holy Family

As we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, we might take some time to reflect on the family of Jesus.  We have, to a large extent, re-made Christmas into a far more perfect model than the actual birth of Our Savior.  The stable where he was born is clean, with fresh straw and no animal residue.  The shepherds as well are well-groomed and much more presentable than a group of men who spent their time in the fields.  Perhaps we have sanitized the early life of Jesus and his family in the same manner.  We know that when Mary and Joseph found Jesus in the temple after searching for three days, Mary chided him for what he had “done” to them. What other trials did she experience as the mother of a child who was also the Son of God?  And what was it like for Joseph to be a husband and father to two people who were without sin?

In our own family, my husband and I have four children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren.  And even though we consider our family our greatest blessing, we are far from perfect.  Perhaps that is why we need the holy but “real” family of Jesus as a model to follow.

Regardless of how we define family, let us pray especially during the coming week for guidance from the Holy Family in enriching our own family life.