The Family at Christmas

the-holy-family-with-the-little-bird_jpg!Blog

So many of us are surrounded by family during the Christmas holiday. Family is the social context in which the memories of Christmas are built. When you think about it, the arrival of Christ and the launch of his ministry was deeply integrated with his family. There’s nothing new here, just some reflections about the intersection of family and the advent.

  • God decided to visit humanity through the doorway of the family.  He had spoken and intervened in so many other ways in the past; a flood, a burning bush, mad prophets…but now it was to be through the ordinary lives of a humble and obedient family.
  • This family almost falls to pieces before it even begins its eternal purpose. But angels and dreams provide the assurance that all will be well. All families are just as susceptible to breaking apart. Now, just as it’s always been, communication and vulnerability are essential for maintaining family stability and strength.
  • Jesus becomes fully human within the context of his family. Just like the rest of us, those early experiences were essential to his development as a son, a brother, a friend and our Savior.
  • The way of salvation for all humanity is made safe and guarded by a frail earthly family. Dreams in the middle of the night and voice of angels kept Jesus the baby safe during those early years on the road and in Egypt (that place of exile). He remained safe in the arms of his mother and father. But not every child would stay safe.
  • His family remains until the very end of Jesus’ mission on earth – members of his family stick close to him and remain faithful up until his death. They are not necessarily seeking to understand but instead seek to demonstrate their love.  This is what families can do best, accept us and care for us, no matter the risks.

“The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved.”
– Victor Hugo

About Randy Wilson

Professor of Sociology at Houston Baptist University I read, think and write about religion and culture in the United States. It's very interesting and very complicated but incredibly exciting. For many years I have been trying to figure out how people learn best (my students and myself). The classes I teach are always in a state of experimentation - trying to reorganize around what students bring to the table and where we have to go.

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