Return to Nazareth
As we see and feel the commercial side of Christmas pervading this season, let us be intentional on slowing down and prayerfully consider what we are “preparing” to celebrate. Christmas is about celebrating our God coming into the world and becoming one of us. This entering into the world came as part of a family with Mary and Joseph as earthly parents. It would be safe to assume that the last three years of Jesus’ life that we read about in the Gospels were influenced by the first thirty years of his life in Nazareth. There he grew up in an environment that was secure and safe to “grow in wisdom and stature before God and man (Luke 2:52).” The family is meant to be a safe place where a child's experiences love, encouragement and space to make mistakes and learn from them through mercy and teaching. A loving father and mother that models holiness will more than likely raise children who model holiness.
The reality is that many of us did not grow up in a place that fostered healthy holy growth. Our parents pass on to us what they received. This process is stained with sin and shortcomings. In the Holy Family, we are given a gift from God to heal spirituality from the shortcomings that we experienced in our upbringing.
These next four weeks, prayerfully return to Nazareth and spend time with Mary and Joseph. Invite Jesus’ family to be your family. Ask God to fill in the gaps of childhood. Let us ask for the grace to let the environment of the Holy Family’s home to be a spiritual haven. May it be a place for us to find healing and growth in holiness. Let us pray for a healing of families this Advent and particularly our own family.