FAMILY OF THE SEASON
Our feature family this month is from out of town: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus of Nazareth. These folks have really seen the countryside. Jesus was born in Bethlehem during that famous world census because Bethlehem is Joseph’s family hometown. I think Mary mentioned being from Judea, some town outside Jerusalem, where they visited her elderly parents on their way to Bethlehem. She said she was very happy they made that visit because shortly after Jesus was born this little family fled to Egypt as migrants due to the developing violence in Bethlehem. In Egypt, Joseph immediately set up shop as a carpenter. While the Egyptians are very good with stone, Joseph’s woodworking skills became very popular. A few years later, they moved north to Nazareth in Galilee where they settled down. Looking back, they describe their years together in Nazareth as especially happy and blessed. Mary keeps very busy at home. In her youth, she was a bit of a poet and songster. With a little urging even today she can fill a room with her “Magnificat.” Though her door is always open and neighbors regularly drop in to share with her, she says she always has time (I questioned “Makes time?” but she corrects “has time”) for prayer. She said prayer is what keeps her going, welcoming, loving, peaceful, and that just as neighbors like to chat with her and her family, she, Joseph and Jesus really enjoy, even prize, their regular conversations with God.
Joseph is a fine carpenter which he attributes not to special talent but to practice and pride in his work. He said he has been encouraged to expand and market his business, but he is happy who he is, with what he is doing, and that his family is wealthy in love. Although he looks pretty robust, doctors have told him he probably will not see his son into adulthood.
Mary and Joseph try not to worry about that prognosis. Their philosophy always has been “make today count.” Joseph says none of us really have any guarantees except for the Father’s love. It looked to me like this attitude of trusting God makes them the special family they are.
Jesus, their son, is a fine young man. His parents say he is the joy of their life, --- though he has caused them worry too like the three days he was lost in Jerusalem. Jesus has a special presence, a warmth, a confidence, a joy, a compassion that he seems utterly willing to share with everyone. Of course, if you spend any time with Joseph and Mary, you quickly see where he gets it from.
Jesus is a friendly young man, easy to smile, easy with compliments, easy to be with. He seems genuinely interested in whomever is talking with him. People seem to love just walking around town with him. Joseph, Mary and Jesus of Nazareth are our feature family this month. Invite them over soon.
Please do have a Merry and Blessed Christmas!