The Feast of Holy Family Year C - 26/12/2021 - Gospel: Lk 2:41-52
Family celebration
Jesus was born in the middle of nowhere, in the bush. He was born at the time when the whole nation was on the move. Following king Herod's order that everyone had to return to their birth place for the census registration. This was the first kind of census in the entire world. At this moment, Mary gave birth to a boy and she named Him, Jesus, as the angel had told her Lk 1,31. For non-believers, Mary gave birth while on the move was an accident. For believers, the fact that Mary give while on the move was an accident. For believers, the birth of Jesus was not an accident, but God ordained it should happen that way. His birth was the fulfilment of the Promise God had made to God's people. The Bible text made clear that God chose Mary and Elizabeth to execute God's plan. 'Mary, you have won God's favour. Listen! you are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus' Lk 1,31. Several centuries before prophet Isaiah had prophesised,

'the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel' Is 7,14.

Immanuel means God is with us. Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus was known as the Nazarene, 'He will be called a Nazarene' Mt 2,23 indicating of His home town.

Today, Christmas is a time for family gathering. Some are going home to meet other family members; others are going away or even overseas; others again, are travelling to see countryside. Everyone is on the move at Christmas. This is to say, everyone celebrates Christmas in their own way.

For us, Christians, we have double celebrations: like everyone else, beside family gathering; we have another movement, and that is the preparation to meet our loving God. This movement is hidden from naked eyes because it is the movement of the soul. We make ourselves ready to welcome Jesus coming to our hearts, and that what the four weeks of Advent was for: preparing oneself to be ready to celebrate the Holy Season with joy.

At the time of Jesus, His birth brought both hope and fear. King Herod lived in fear because he thought Jesus was born to replace him. He was deceived by wealth and power. That he murdered all boys in his land was evil. The birth of Jesus would bring joy, not limited to a nation, but extended to the entire world to celebrate. His birth brought great hope for those who were longing for the Covenant to happen, that God promised to come to us, to live amongst God's people, to save us from harm and damnation.

Unfortunately, some have no homes for gathering at Christmas, because their homes were destroyed by the forces of nature. There are water ways, and rivers on earth. Deep in the oceans we have visible and invisible currents. I am not a meteorologist, but believe air and wind have their own paths in the sky. We build houses and high- rises and some of them obstruct the air's movements. Nature continues to take its course and destroys things in its way; some of us are the unfortunate victims. Do not lose hope, turn to God for courage and strength; the courage to go on in hope and the strength to stand up to start afresh.

Jesus was born into the world family. Christmas become the time for family celebrations.

May the grace at Christmas fill your heart and your home. Emmanuel.