How to Meditate: The Holy Family. The Nativity scenes, both in the cathedral courtyard and in churches, but also in many private homes and apartments, convey the image of a complete Holy Family. Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, harmonious, peaceful and touching. The ideal of a successful family situation.
The ideal easily becomes a silent reproach for those in whose lives things are not going well. What if my place is not as peaceful, or pious, or harmonious as the stable in Bethlehem? What about our differences, our crises, our burdens and our limitations? Do they have room in bed?
But the picture of the ideal family situation in foster care cracks when we look at it more closely. Mary and Joseph placed the baby in the manger because there was no other place for her. Jesus was placed there and goes where there is room. This is the opposite of: I need a perfect place.
We are humans, shaped by expectations and demands, who think things like this. Jesus does not need the perfect, ordered and harmonious environment. He feels at home wherever there is a place for him. It's not uncommon to feel the same way. We don't look for or need perfection to feel good, but rather we like to go where we find joy, understanding, and love. So, where there is a place for me, you could say.
As Christians, we believe that this Jesus in the manger is the Son of God. This creates an adventurous message that God is at home wherever He has space, where people receive Him with joy and openness. So he can come into my little life, which isn't perfect at all.
Dean of Bremen Dr. Bernhard Stecker.
And the Holy Family? The family is not holy because everything in it is perfect and without blemish, but because it has given room to God. Everyone who makes room for God is sanctified: the shepherds and kings yet to come, even the ox, the donkey, the sheep, and perhaps even the last camel. In this sense, all those who follow Jesus, listen to him, or perhaps allow themselves to speak to him for a brief moment, are holy.
We are the Holy Family, we are the ones who look at the manger. Because the cave leads us to meet people with joy, understanding, and love, and to acknowledge God’s presence in them. Then Christmas becomes a reality.
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