GN 49:2, 8-10
PS 72: 1-2, 3-4 AB, 7-8, 17
MT 1: 1-17
How many of us could name our great grandparents? Our great great grandparents? Some might be able to but probably not many. The Gospel for today is the genealogy of Jesus. It contains his family tree from Jesus all the way back to Abraham, 42 generations of family history!
Knowing where you were from and truly knowing your family members and the history of your family was important in Jesus’ time. It is the very reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem. When Caesar decreed that every man should return to the land of his family, Joseph and Mary embarked on a long journey to the city of Jesus’ ancestors.
Many of us will embark on these long journeys to the homes of our family members during this Christmas season. Perhaps the entire family gathers at Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Christmas dinner. Or perhaps we enjoy the company of our immediate family as stories are shared around the Christmas tree.
Wherever we are, Jesus calls us to be with our family. On the night of his birth, Jesus is together in Bethlehem with not only Mary and Joseph, but with all his ancestors who lived and prayed in that humble town.
While it will not be possible for many of us to journey to the homes of our ancestors in Ireland or Italy or wherever your family is from, it is enough to reflect and pray for the members of our families who have gone before us. It is through these people that we are able to live as we do.
During this Advent season and this coming Christmas season, take the time to put the phones down and truly listen to your family. Learn their stories. Know them for the incredible human persons they are. What are your aunt’s greatest fears? What was your uncle’s greatest challenge growing up? What is your grandma most proud of her in her life? Who really are these people that we call our family?
Just as Jesus is in the presence of all his family on that first Christmas, let us also be fully in the presence of our family. As we prepare for Christmas, let us pray for family and for the beauty and wonder that comes from knowing and loving a person so deeply. Let our families be more than just names on a family tree; let them truly be a part of who we are.
Moira McDermott is a senior studying Secondary Education and English.