One Messed Up Family

A message for the Feast of the Holy Family, this 6th Day of Christmas.

A modern day Holy Family, perhaps?

Preparing Our Hearts:

(Call to Worship from Worship Ways, a United Church of Christ resource.)

Leader: When Jesus is born to Mary and Joseph,

People: God is there.

Leader: When Jesus is presented at the temple,

People: God is there.

Leader: When Simeon holds Jesus in his arms,

People: God is there.

Leader: When Anna recognizes Jesus in the temple,

People: God is there.

Leader: This very morning,

People: God is here.

Leader: In the future we cannot see,

People: God is there.

All: Let Us Worship God!

Scripture References:

We Reflect:

For many Christians, today, this 6th day of Christmas is the Feast of the Holy Family which celebrates the human family unit, as well as the ultimate family unit: Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The Holy Family is the name given to the family unit of Jesus: The Divine Son of God Jesus, his mother Mary, and his step-father Joseph. We know very little about the life of the Holy Family through the canonical Gospels. They speak of the early years of the Holy Family, including the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, and the finding of Jesus in the temple. While the exact details of the day-to-day life of the Holy Family may be unknown, we can still learn a lot from the stories we do have. The Feast of the Holy Family is not just about the Holy Family, but about our own families too. The main purpose of the Feast is to present the Holy Family as the model for all Christian families, and for domestic life in general. Our family life becomes sanctified when we live the life of the Church within our homes known as the "domestic church" or the "church in miniature." St. John Chrysostom urged all Christians to make each home a "family church," and in doing so, we sanctifying the family unit by making Christ the center of family and individual life: reading scripture regularly, praying daily, attending church, imitating the actions of the Holy Family, all done together as a family unit.

St. Paul provides advice on family life in Colossians 3:12-21: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

The Holy Family feast is a good time to remember the family unit and pray for our human and spiritual families; to reflect on the value and sanctity of the family unit; to evaluate our own family life. What ways may it be improved? But most importantly, we can use this feast to ask ourselves what are we doing to promote the family within our own cultures, neighborhoods, and communities?

But today, I want us to look at the lineage of the holy family we are a part of. The brokenness found within it, --the realness, the things that can make us say that is like my family, or better yet, my family and I fit in the holy family well. So many found in the genealogy of Jesus were broken and messed up people just like us. For some reason, we don’t hear the dark depth of many of these stories though God seemed just fine with making them a part of the Scriptures for us to read and relate to. We wonder why so many of the stories of the Bible no longer take our breath away. One of the reasons is because there is so much cover-up in Christianity. So much censorship. And that cosmetic touch, air brushes out the salacious and sordid stories that hold our attention and make the Bible interesting, dare I say, meaningful. The genealogy of Jesus is chuck-full of the most absurd individuals living out the most salacious stories…and somehow, they are a part of the family tree of our Savior.

We find some famous names in the history of Israel, from patriarchs to kings. The first ancestors of the Jewish nation were Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God called Himself their God. David the king was known as a “man after God’s own heart.” His son Solomon had the temple built in Jerusalem. Many other outstanding leaders can be found within this family tree such as Asa, Jehoshaphat, Uzziah, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah, and Zerubbabel. The lives of these men included great military victories and the restoration of true worship.

However, none of these outstanding men were perfect.

  • Abraham was a liar and a polygamist

  • Isaac was a liar also and showed favoritism in his children