One of the really great things about being a deacon is that we can be married and have a family. Wanda and I have been a family for 46 years. Over the years our family grew into sons and daughters and grandchildren and in-laws. It also grew to include several cats and a wonderful little beagle named Kate.
When I was ordained a deacon my family grew again to include the members of our parish, and all those with whom I minister in psychiatric hospitals, in spiritual direction, and in support groups. I have been blessed to know and live the meaning of family.
On December 29th we will be celebrating the Holy Family. We look at the family of Jesus and Mary and Joseph and see the ideal of what every family should strive to be: a relationship based on mutual love, respect and trust. And today, in the third millennium, we recognize that there are many types of families. There is the nuclear family, and the extended family; the work family, and the parish family; and many variations of each. Wherever there is a human relationship built on love, there is a family. And whenever that love is unconditional, there is a holy family.
Throughout his preaching Jesus calls us to love and forgive each other as God loves and forgives is – unconditionally without any strings. He calls us to never close the door of our heart to another person, even when another’s heart has been closed to us. Jesus calls us to be a holy family to one another. We are all called to be holy families, despite the drama and dysfunction we sometimes find ourselves mired in; despite the mistakes we inevitably make; despite the hurts and scars we bear and sometimes inflict. We don’t have to be perfect. We just can never give up, never stop loving, never stop reaching out.
On this upcoming feast of the Holy Family, in this season of Christmas, let us examine the relationships, the families that we are, or once were, part of. Let us reopen any locked doors in our hearts and take the first step to reach out across the house, across the miles, across the years, even beyond the grave to heal any relationships that have been broken.
With the grace of our loving God in our hearts, we can be that holy family we are called to be.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministry