Didn’t I just see you folks yesterday? Every year that Christmas falls late in the week, it feels like we’re looking at a liturgical double-header. Yet, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Having just celebrated Christmas, this weekend we celebrate “Holy Family” Sunday, and Friday we’ll celebrate the feast of Mary, as the Mother of God. All of these feast days are “family” related. So with that in mind, especially this year when COVID has often kept us separated from our families in ways that we could have never imagined, it’s good to realize just how important family really is.
I know for my own family, my Sister and her family found themselves exposed as one of my niece’s roommates tested positive the weekend before Christmas. That meant that some of our Christmas holidays had to happen over video-chat, doing the best we could to keep everyone safe. I remember that a few years ago when, because of how the schedule worked out with my Christmas masses, I wasn’t able to make it out to go see my brother’s family for Christmas, so we had to ship the presents in the mail and open presents via video-chat. It was a novel experience then. Now it’s become for so many of us, the norm this year.
In those moments, we get to choose how we’re going to react to these realities. Of course there’s sadness that we can’t hug our families in the way that we’d want to. Yet, I know I’m also thankful for the technology that allows some contact in ways that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. As we celebrate this Holy Family Sunday, can we take a moment to be thankful for our families, realizing that even for the struggles and issues we have, there’s someone out there who struggles even more than we do. Yet, so often, it’s precisely those moments that bring us closer together. Can we imagine Mary and Joseph, hearing that their child would be destined for the rise and fall of many in Israel, and hearing those words “...and you, yourself, a sword will pierce.” Can we imagine the flight into Egypt, unsure of what would come next? Yet, through all of that, they stood together and a family and trusted in God.
As we walk through this holiday season, can we take the time to be thankful for our families, even as we encourage each other to constantly grow in our relationships with each other and with our God?
I also want to thank everyone who helped with the Christmas decorations this year. It was a bit of a smaller group than usual, due to the contagion concerns, but I really want to thank the Burba and Wilson families for organizing and decorating this year!
To everyone, I hope you enjoy this Christmas season, and that you all have a very safe and Happy New Year!
God bless you and your families!
Father Matthew Baum is the Parish Administrator at Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.