26 December, Sunday — We are family

Dec 26 – Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

We celebrate the Holy Family of Nazareth which is the model for all who fear the Lord and walk in his ways.

– the Sunday Missal

1 Sam 1:20-22,24-28
1 Jn 3:1-2,21-24
Lk 2:41-52 

Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children…

When people say ‘family’, the first thought is always our own immediate family – the people we live with. But how often do we include God as part of our family?

Every year before Christmas, we will read the gospel passage on the geneology of Jesus Christ. It is a long list of names and I find it hard to even pronounce some of them, least of all, remember. But I’ve come to understand and appreciate the importance of this scripture — which is that Jesus is part of that history, and His coming is very real as He enters into our history. God, who is our Father, loves us so much that he sends his only son to be with us; and indeed, Jesus wants us to be a part of this giant family tree, and to be a part of his Christmas story.

In today’s second reading, we are asked to “Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children, and that is what we are.” Our identity is that we are God’s children “but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed, all we know is, that when it is revealed, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.” This is what our faith as Christians is about. To love God our Abba Father first, then to love everyone else as we love our own brothers and sisters because we are, after all, God’s children.

The call to love our neighbour’s family may seem strange to some and is a difficult one to follow. We usually love what we are familiar with so then, how do we love a stranger or even someone who’s totally offensive, rude, selfish, mean or proud? He’s certainly not asking us to go out and proclaim our love to everyone we meet, but what he’s asking us is to first forgive “seventy-seven times” (Mt 18:22) anyone who has hurt us, to “turn the other cheek also if anyone wants to sue [us] and take [our] coat” (Mt 5:39-40), and then to show care and concern for those in need. Forgiveness and humility are the ‘secret ingredients’ to understanding God’s love for us. Only when we can shed all our pride to forgive those who hurt us and to love generously and patiently, can we then experience true, perfect love.   

(Today’s OXYGEN by Cynthia Chew)

Prayer: Dear Abba Father, your love for us is so pure and perfect, yet the world refused to acknowledge you. You love us as a father does and much more, for every single hair on our head are all accounted for (Lk 12:7), for even the birds of the air have been fed, the lilies of the field grew without toiling (Mt 6:26-28), what more us, your beloved. If even those who are evil know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more will you, the heavenly Father give to those who ask you (Lk 11:12)!     

Thanksgiving: Thank you Jesus, for humbling yourself to be born of a woman, to go through all that is human to understand us better, just so that we can be a part of your heavenly family. Thank you for inviting us to be a part of your Christmas story.

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