Sunday, January 2, 2022

The Holy Family. . .

There is too much to tell and the days do not always afford us much opportunity.  Perhaps we ought to schedule worship on every one of the Twelve Days of Christmas to get it all in.  There is the desire to treat this chronologically (a nice and neat package of themes that take us from the the Circumcision to the Magi to Egypt to the Temple for Purification and Presentation, etc.).  In the midst of it there is also St. Stephen, St. John and the Holy Innocents.  Do not forget the New Year's celebrations, eve and the day after.  And family get togethers.  And time off school and even work.  Returning gifts that we did not want or do not fit.  We need twelve days!

But what of this Sunday?  I wonder if the Roman Catholic emphasis on the Holy Family is not something needed among us Lutherans as well.  The Holy Family is often given short shrift.  Blessed Mary is left distant because we harbor such strange fears that if we honor her rightly it will inevitably lead to dishonoring Christ.  St. Joseph is so often treated as a walk on in this drama -- he did not want the part in the beginning and was there as Blessed Mary's sidekick until he disappears from the Word.  And Jesus is treated in our minds as some sort of ordinary kid who did not know He was the Son of God or some idiot savant who put the mind of God in a child's body and temperament.  How foolish we are!

Think about it.  God in His almighty wisdom chose the family for His incarnate Son.  He saw Blessed Mary as a woman of faith who would be a faithful and devout mother to the Son of God in flesh.  She was no mere tool or instrument to deliver the Emmanuel to us but one whose faith and piety would provide the good and pious home for Jesus to grow and mature into adulthood.  But she was not alone.  With her was St. Joseph.  He cared for Blessed Mary when a brute would have put her away and made her a pariah for the child in her womb.  He listened to the voice of God speaking through the angel.  He was a devout son of Abraham and would not only protect and defend the Son of God in His infant and youthful years but would nurture and shape His faith and life.  

We ought to make more of this Holy Family.  Especially amid the assault upon marriage and the family by the culture and government!  This was a real family of faith and prayer.  The Word of God was the lamp unto their feet and in their hearts faith was receptive to that Word.  We see it everywhere.  They knew the synagogue and the Temple.  They knew the prophets and the Psalms.  They knew the Law and the history.   Could this family be exactly what we need to turn our attention to as the world redefines marriage, discourages the very thing that marriage needs to be fruitful, and treats children as either unwelcome burdens to be discarded or toys to be purchased at whim from the reproductive technology center?  Yes, we need to preach and teach more the Holy Family and how our families are called to be holy -- places where the Word of God is the center of the home and the life of God's people and where God's delight in sending us His Son informs and defines every aspect of our lives and relationships.

If I could change the lectionary, it just might be to add the Holy Family to the calendar for the Sunday after Christmas.  For there is something here worthy of our attention and especially needful as the earthly family is under attack.  We have something to hold up.  Not perfect people but pious ones among whom God made His dwelling place through His Son.   Oh that it would be true of all Christian families and homes!

1 comment:

Timothy Carter said...

Beautiful "pondering" on the Family.
Pastor Becker, here in Kingsport, preached a similar message on God's use of the family and the great affection He as for the institution.
Thank you both for giving me hope in my isolation. Sound, Confessional Doctrine has a way of comforting us no matter what the world may throw at us.
Blog On...I read you daily and enjoy studying your past blogs.
Timothy Carter, simple country Deacon, Kingsport, TN.