December 29, 2019

Feast of the Holy Family

There’s a show I occasionally catch on National Public Radio called The Moth. The premise of the show is simple. People from all walks of life get up in front of a live audience and tell a significant story about their lives. Sometimes the stories make you laugh or cry. But most importantly, they ring true to human experience and deeply seated values and hopes.

I am often impressed at how frequently family relationships factor into these stories. These people get their big chance to tell their story and they choose to talk about family. And these relationships are complex. They are not fairy tales, but instead take place in a real world of brokenness and ambiguity. Listening to these stories my thoughts of what constitutes a “normal family” are continuously expanded, as is my wonder of humanity’s ability to discover goodness in the midst of life’s challenges.

Why should I be so surprised? After all today we celebrate a family that is anything but normal—the Holy Family; a family that is held in high esteem not for it’s “normalness,” but for its particularity. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are brought together under the most peculiar life circumstances. Theirs is not a fairy-tale love story or a typical family unit by any measure. From the very beginning Mary and Joseph are faced with unconventional and challenging situations. And things don’t get easier from there. But what is beautiful and inspiring is how these practical strangers are able to create love and acceptance in frightening and completely unforeseen circumstances.

When we look at our own families we may find that there’s plenty we consider not “normal” as well. Today’s celebration of the Holy Family reminds us that within those unique and sometimes challenging circumstances there is the possibility for something new and good to emerge. We can choose to build greater communion within our families, and sometimes we find that in doing so, our own story is enriched.

Let Us Pray:

Loving God,
You who give us the great witness of the Holy Family,
Give us the grace to see our family anew,
And grow in communion.
We ask this through Christ our Lord,


Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)


About John Christman, SSS

John Christman, SSS is a member of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament and the former editor of Emmanuel. He is an artist, musician and frequently writes on the topic of theology and the arts.