But, this family also knew profound hope.
They trusted completely in God. They call all of us to that kind of trust. And they stand with us. In our own time, they stand beside all who worry, who struggle, who search, who pray.
The Holy Family stands beside parents anxious about their children, worrying for their welfare. They walk with immigrants and refugees separated from those they love. They walk with teenage mothers and single parents. They console the prisoner, the outcast, the bullied, the scorned — and the parents who love them. And they offer solace and compassion to any mother or father grieving over the loss of a child.
This Christmas, they weep with the parents of Newtown and Sandy Hook. The Holy Family shares our burdens. But they also uplift us by their example. Jesus, Mary and Joseph were never alone. They endured through the grace of God.
They prayed. They trusted. They hoped. And in all that, they found peace and strength.
We might ask ourselves where we can find that peace, that strength, in our own families, in our own lives.
We find an answer in Paul’s beautiful letter to the Colossians.
This passage that we hear today is sometimes read at weddings. Like Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians, it speaks eloquently of love.
But Paul wasn’t writing about romantic love. This letter we hear today is about how to form a healthy and holy Christian community. And from his words, we can draw lessons about how to form a healthy and holy Christian family. Put on compassion, Paul tells us. Kindness. Lowliness. Meekness. Patience. Forgiveness. And love.
It is all that simple — and all that difficult. I’m sure the Holy Family had moments when living those virtues seemed hard, or even impossible. But they did things most of us don’t. They listened to angels. They dreamed.
And they gave themselves fully to God.
They made of their lives a prayer.
If you find yourselves overwhelmed, just look toward the crèche. There is our model for living: Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Those three people were often overwhelmed, too. Yet, in a time of anxiety and difficulty, persecution and tragedy—a time very much like our own–they showed us how to be people of faith, people of forgiveness, people of love.
They showed us, very simply, how to be holy.
H/T The Deacon's Bench