The Impact of the Holy Family
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:34-38)
A well-known tradition says Mary, the Mother of Jesus, was born in Jerusalem, the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Early sources say Mary was born in Nazareth. Somehow Mary and Joseph lived in the same village, Nazareth. She was young and engaged to Joseph, but before they married, she would be pregnant. An angel told her she would conceive a son, and he was not going to be a son like any other, but the Son of God, who was to be called “Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
Mary’s responding is about self-giving and total submission and commitment to God’s plan and purpose. She was humble, faithful, obedient, and courageous in her response. She gave her life to God and allowed God to use her as the mother of Jesus for the transformation of the world. Through her life, the Christ was born, God was incarnated, and our human history was set on the path to what is known today as Christmas. Sometimes I wonder what life today would be like if Mary would have said no to the angel.
In this Christmas, we can celebrate and be grateful for the Holy Family -- Mary, Joseph and the Christ Child, through whom God had made it possible for a cold winter to be the most cherished and wonderful time of the year, and the darkest night became a holy night. Their lives became “means of grace” for the salvation of the world, bringing joy and peace to the earth for all who believed. In our celebration, take a moment to reflect how the Holy Family has impacted your life and how you can be an impact in other people’s lives with the plan and purpose God has for you.
Oh God, the One who called Mary and Joseph to a journey of transforming the world, I give thanks to you for your coming and acts in the world and in my life. I give thanks to Mary, Joseph and Jesus for their lives and celebrate their ministries that transformed the world. I pray and offer my life to you in ways so that others may come to know you in this Christmas and in the New Year and years to come. Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.