Dec. 30, 2012
Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, Joseph
1 Samuel 1:20-22,24-28
1 John 3:1-2, 21-24
Luke 2:41-52

It is still the Christmas season yet a few days ago we celebrated the Feast of the Holy Innocents. We know this feast and generally it does not blunt the joy of the season. This year is different. The slaughter of the innocents and the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt remind us of those who could not flee. It brings to the fore what happened in Newtown, Connecticut and the grief of families there.

A voice was heard in Ramah,
sobbing and loud lamentation;
Rachel weeping for her children,
and she would not be consoled,
since they were no more.

Like the parents of all the children who walked out of Sandy Hook School, Mary and Joseph must have felt the agony of being grateful for their son’s survival and impossibly sad for all those who lost their own sons and daughters.

And then, today on the Feast of the Holy Family, we hear the story of the fright of the Holy Family when they realized that their son was not with them. We think of the families who waited in the fire house at Sandy Hook thinking that perhaps their child was forever lost. Some of them were reunited with their children and some were not.

Every parent knows that their children who, at times, will bring indescribable joy will also bring sadness. None can anticipate the tragedy of these last weeks.

The question remains: what do we do with the grief and sorrow that are so much a part of this Christmas season?  Perhaps, the message is found in what Mary did. She held her son a little more tightly and focused on the gift she held in her arms. Our great gift in this season is a Child who was born, suffered and died for us and is with us still.

When death comes to someone we love, time passes and when the sense of loss has dulled we discover those we have lost with us still. We tell their stories and laugh and cry and find those we love in our midst—a wonderful reminder that comes with this season. Jesus is the Child who is “with us still.”

In this season, we confront the love of a God who is so magnanimous that he gave his only Son not only to die for us but also to live with us. Today we meet a God who is so concerned about his creation that he sends his Son as a child whom we cannot fear. He sends a child to grow in wisdom and age and grace and to show us how to do the same. Jesus’ life is a gift in the strictest meaning of the word.