The Holy Family

Michelangelo’s Holy Family, Uffizi Museum in Florence, Italy

Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest from Austria wrote the lyrics to Silent Night. The choir director of St. Nicholas Church in  Oberndorf, Austria, Franz Xaver Gruber composed the melody. Silent Night was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at St. Nicholas Church.

This past Sunday we celebrated the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

The Holy Family

The divine providence of God was in perfect order when He picked this family. Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel heralding the great news of her Immaculate Conception. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but when he discovered  that she was with child (by the Holy Spirit) Joseph had second thoughts. It was not until an angel appeared to him in a dream that he understood the importance of his role as the holy foster father of Jesus. He was called to protect his family from all harm. St. Joseph is mentioned in the Bible, but he was never quoted in the Word of God. He was the silent example of holiness. He listened to the messages sent from God through holy angels and departed to Egypt to save the Christ Child from the hands of King Herod.

The Flight to Egypt.
13 When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

It was through Joseph’s obedience that Jesus’ life was spared from the hands of the evil King Herod. That’s what holy fathers do; they protect their children from all harm. Joseph serves as a role model on how to be a great father. The idea that he was a foster father to the Son of God gives us an insight as to how deep the Lord wants fathers to exemplify Joseph’s fatherhood. Not only did he raise Jesus as his own, he handed down his trade of a carpenter to his Son. It is a misconception that Jesus had brothers and sisters because in the times of the New Testament close relatives were referred to as brothers and sisters. Mary was set aside to carry the Christ Child in her womb; this was her main purpose in life, and Jesus was her only begotten son.

St. Anne and St. Joachim 

Mary was born to St. Anne and St. Joachim. St. Joachim was a wealthy man who benevolently gave to the work of God. He gave  one-third to the Temple, one-third  to the poor, and kept one-third for St. Anne and himself. They were judged harshly by their Jewish community because they were elderly and they could not bear children. They both fasted and prayed for a child. St. Joachim went to the desert and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights, while his wife fasted and prayed at the Temple. An angel appeared to St. Anne first to announce that she would bear a child. St. Joachim experienced an angel apparition around the same time telling him to go back home to his wife because she was with child. When Mary was three-years-old she was consecrated to the Temple.

Jesus’ Grandparents

As parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim made the ultimate sacrifice of consecrating Mary to the Temple. They understood that Mary was a special gift from God. Their role as grandparents was to pray for the future of the Mother of God, their daughter Mary. St. Anne must have known that Mary would become the most famous woman in the world. Mothers have a God-given intuition for their children.

Mike and I have four grandchildren. Each one is different, and we have learned that we cannot treat them the same. We love them the same but our involvement as grandparents is to be available to help at any time. I will drop everything when it comes to the needs of our grandchildren. I want to teach our grandchildren to love the Lord and to be an example of serving God. All grandchildren are special because we as grandparents have a great opportunity to witness what we have experienced in life. We have grown from all of our past hurts and pains and can offer great wisdom. The many times that I have served as the taxi for our grandkids, I always have the radio on a religious station. None of them seem to mind.

Our 2021 Christmas Card

Our grandchildren help us with technology; what seems impossible for me  comes so easy for them. I do not like to cook or bake, but now that has become a tradition with our grandkids. I don’t mind the mess because the time spent in the kitchen is worth all the labor of cleaning up. So as grandparents we are working at coming alongside their parents, making sure that we are part of raising good, honest citizens who will honor their parents and love God.

Last year we lost a dear friend. This was not COVID-related but it was an unexpected departure. The sad irony is that our friend had recently lost his oldest son as well. Our friend left behind his younger son who is suffering the lost of his beloved father and brother. My heart aches for this precious young man because he was so close to his father and brother. I have been praying for this young man for months, but when he stopped returning my text messages, I realized that he had gone deep into the mournful pain of loss. We all grieve differently, but his pain is too much for him to bear alone, and the holidays are a harsh reminder of this great void in his life. We miss our friend so much, but I cannot imagine the pain his son is going through. All that is left is prayer because we trust that God will pull him out of this deep grief.

My Prayer

Dear Lord, we know that the Christmas season brings so much pain to those who are alone, who are suffering from illness, or are not on speaking terms with close family members. Lord, we ask that You send Your Holy Spirit to comfort them and to help them to understand that there is nothing impossible for You. You heal the broken hearted, and restore the faith in those who looks to You for help. I pray for our friend’s son, Lord.  You know his pain and every tear that he has shed for his family. Lord, comfort his broken heart and give him peace. Amen.




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