"And so it was that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth here firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because they was no room for them in the inn." - Luke 2:6-7
Christmas is not just a time for just children but it is also a time for families.
In these trying times with economic and moral degradation, it is quite sad that more and more families fall into a dysfunctional situation.
Amidst all these, the Holy Family serves a role model eventhough they existed thousand years ago.
I just noticed that one of the things why people are often wary about applying the lives of Holy people to our daily lives is we often picture them so Holy and Perfect.
Perhaps Mother Mary and Jesus are but that does not mean they are unreachable and irrelevant.
Take for instance the Holy Family. It was during this last Sunday's homily that I truly understand why the Holy Family is still relevant to our society as well. They maybe the ideal family but the trials that they have encountered were not full of bliss.
1 - Uncertain Future vs. Great Faith - Imagine how a teenager like Mother Mary felt that she will have a child from a man she hardly knows, to a man she was forcibly had to Mary. It was her strong faith and trust in the Lord of the trials to come.
She was barely a woman then, she had to face a life of motherhood and the hardest part of it is that the child she will be giving birth to was the Child of the most high.
She had her initial doubts which was utterly normal. Then said Mary unto the angel, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" - Luke 1: 34. Still she trusted God with this uncertain future with great faith as she said her first great Amen in salvation history: And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to thy word." - Luke 1:38.
The future maybe uncertain but it would always be faith that would strengthen each family members having God as the center of this special nucleus.
2 - Against All Odds - Saint Joseph may wanted to have divorced Mother Mary quietly but he first and foremost didn't want to press charges in order for her not to be stoned to death. He was very understanding of her situation despite perhaps the feeling of betrayal of having seen her with "someone else's" baby before the Angel Gabriel went to see him in a dream.
We too had doubts over some issues with the family but it would be great if we get to the bottom of it before losing our cool. Forgive and understand each other as much as possible.
3 - Domestic Discomfort - While it was not really much of a monetary case why they end-up in a manger, but even the Holy Family experienced their own set of physical and meager discomfort. What they do is make the most of it, imagine Mother Mary having give birth to the Child Jesus in a very dirty and smelly stable instead of a medical facility during that time.
The Holy Family had their fair share of financial woes as Saint Joseph was a carpenter and nothing much was mentioned about Mother Mary's employment. Eventually, even Jesus; who is the Son of God; had his fair share of labor and became a carpenter Himself to earn a living.
Every family goes through this, but what should one do is make the most of what is given and always think positively that there are other people who have worst situations than we have.
4 - Responsible and Single Parenthood - I really do not know when St. Joseph died but it was certain that he was not there anymore when Jesus Christ started his public life.
It must have been difficult for Mother Mary living alone without her husband. It was difficult to raise a child. Imagine the pain she had endured seeing her child grow up, move out and in the end crucified.
But despite being widowed, it was obvious that she raised Christ well. Even at the Wedding at Cana, Christ showed His obedience to His mother when she told Him there wasn't anymore wine and Christ told her that it was not yet time for Him to do miracles. And yet, Christ still turned the water into wine for His mom requested it.
Even up to the end, at the foot of the cross the strong bond between Mother and Son was very evident as Jesus asked Saint John to take care of His mother, while Mother Mary herself stood silently and gave her greatest Fiat to support her Son despite seeing her Son being humiliated and ostracized.
The Perfect Family with an Imperfect Life
The Holy Family had their own crosses to bear and trudge a road most of us travel daily. They had experiences like most of us encounter. And yet despite everything they remained very, very ideal to the end.
It is not a matter of whether or not is hard to reach or emulate the Holy Family, it is really up to us if we are resolved to follow such example.