It must have been an arduous, even dangerous journey, as Mary, in her last weeks of her pregnancy, set off on a donkey with Joseph to complete the census in Bethlehem. While it is easy to aestheticise and romanticise the entire experience, we must remember that back in the day, there was no convenience of the Downtown Line, and that all the inns were booked because people from all over the world were right smack at where it was happening. Without the medical care as we know it today, and epidurals, and given the fact that Mary was of a very young age, the labour must have been an intense experience. Following the birth of Jesus, there was a political manhunt for the Child King and the need to live as a refugee in a foreign land. Yet, out of humility, and docility, Mary and Joseph submitted and went.
The salvific and prophetic Hand of God is seen in all these. It is significant that Jesus was to be born quietly, and unnoticed, in a place considered the lowest of the low. It is important, that He who is the Living Bread, is born in Bethlehem, the House of Bread. It is pertinent, that Jesus return to Egypt for a time, to redeem Egypt after the liberation of the Israelites.
As we consider our own lives, it is necessary to understand that the Holy Family and the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, were borne out of difficulty and great hardship, and that whatever circumstance that we may be undergoing – the struggle to find room, space, belonging, acceptance; the battle to make ends meet and find provision; the loneliness of exile and alienation; a state of impoverishment and poverty; the struggle to find gainful employment in a foreign land, had already been experienced, in full by the Holy Family. Of greater need is to see that amidst all these difficulties, the Holy Family trusted completely in God. The graces that we receive are dependent on how much we trust in GOD.
As we busy ourselves this Christmas, and as we look forward to God’s amazing surprises in the year ahead, let us ask the Holy Family to adopt us as their own. Through them, we see a testimony, that GOD never fails, that GOD always provides, and that GOD never abandons or forsakes His people.
Dedication of One’s Family to the Holy Family:
Most loving Jesus, by Your sublime and beautiful virtues of humility, obedience, poverty, modesty, charity, patience, and gentleness, You blessed with peace and happiness the family which You chose on earth. In Your mercy look upon my family. We belong to You, for we have received Your many blessings over many years and we entrust ourselves to Your loving care.
Look upon my family in Your loving kindness, preserve us from danger, give us help in time of need, and grant us the grace to persevere to the end in imitation of Your Holy Family, so that having revered You and loved You faithfully on earth, we may praise You eternally in heaven.
Mary, dearest Mother, to your intercession we have recourse, knowing that your Divine Son will hear your prayers. Glorious patriarch, Saint Joseph, help us by your powerful prayers and offer our prayers to Jesus through Mary’s hands. Amen.
By Brian Bartholomew Tan