The Holy Family


One of the great joys of the Christmas season is to behold the utter joy, innocence, beauty that light up the faces of little children. They are filled with wonder, delight, excitement. Year after year they grow into surer expectation about what happens with family and friends during Christmas. They grow into the family holiday traditions.

This feast and these readings remind us that being a “holy” family is a matter of valuing the memories and traditions that make us who we are—a holy family, a holy people.

The Holy Family provides us the model we need. They were faithful and obedient to the traditions that formed who they were. They were also open to God’s astoundingly new in breaking and willing to undergo the change that divine in-breaking invited for their lives. They teach us what it means to be “in [our] Father’s house,” where we learn our religious traditions and form the memories that make us who we are as members of the larger family of God.

They teach us that we really belong to God, and everything about our living must reflect that we are most at home “in [our] Father’s house.” The Holy Family also teaches us to be obedient to the unknown and un-understood things to which God might be calling us. They teach us that our lives are about always growing “in wisdom and age and favor.”

Our families are schools of holiness, for there we learn the memories and traditions that make us who we are and who God wants us to be: holy, God’s beloved children. Holiness is finding the way to be who we are in God’s sight: people of a tradition and people open to God’s new in-breaking.

The familiarity of family life can sometimes blind us to see the goodness in each other. This feast reminds us to open our eyes and be “astonished” at the goodness of each other rather than being anxious about our own concerns. Families grow in holiness when each person in the family—from parents to the smallest child and including anyone extended the hospitality of the family—is treated as a member of God’s family and, therefore, holy. This feast of the Holy Family pushes us to seek ever anew God’s action in our lives and respond with newfound forms of fidelity.

Adapted from Renew International