[#pictureAdvent] December 25: HOLY FAMILY

23 Dec 25 Holy Family-01.jpg

By Rev. Sarah B. Miller
Senior Pastor, Tuskawilla UMC
Casselberry, FL

First, read Luke 2:1-14

Mary and I have an experience in common – the events leading to the births of our sons were not as we planned. I am sure the last thing Mary wanted was to travel across the Holy Land for a census days before her son’s birth. I know the last thing I wanted was to be admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of severe pre-eclampsia at 36 weeks-5days.

We were both in unfamiliar places. We were both out of control of what was happening around us.

And we both had our sons’ wellbeing in the forefront of our minds, in the entirety of our hearts, and in the prayers on our lips.

After my care team finalized plans for how my son would be born, I felt a physical, tangible change in my body as an incarnation of the change that occurred in my spirit. I heard for myself the words the angel said to Mary at the Annunciation and the heavenly host would say to the shepherds in the field, “Do not be afraid.” A peace overcame me and all was well with my soul.

Hours later my son was born in a room full of laughter and singing. My heart is glad that his first moments were full of kindness and care. And when the nurse brought my son to me, all swaddled and snug, I experienced a true moment of holiness as the family my husband and I started ten and a half years ago grew from two to three.

Today we celebrate the birth of our Lord, and I hope our celebration includes laughter and singing with our families by our sides. I hope we are quick to share kindness and care, not just today but every day. And I hope we join with the angels and shepherds in telling the good news of great joy, “A Savior has been born to us; he is the Messiah, the Lord!” In telling this good news, we will witness as God's holy families grows from two to three to so much more.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the gifts of laughter and singing. Thank you for the gifts of kindness and care. Thank you for the gifts of dispelling fear and indwelling peace. Thank you for the gifts of Jesus and opportunities to share his good news to grow holy families in partnership with you. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1.     Describe a time you were afraid; how did God help you overcome that time of fear?

2.     Describe a time of great joy you shared with your family.

3.     Ask a parent how he or she felt upon meeting his or her child for the very first time.