Holy Family- pehaps larger than you have imagined!
The halls are quiet here, most people have gone home for the holidays.
I decided to work today- saving all the vacation that I can for maternity leave.
We will need some income. So one more paid day of leave is better for everyone.
Unpaid maternity leave is a sin.
Why do we idealize Mary so much? Really do we think she looked like this woman?
If we were all more like the idealized image of Mary we wouldn't need an social support or net. She after all, is the hero of the holy family. She has got her shit together. Every meal is planned out, every dollar well budgeted, every temper tantrum dealt with, every moment is bliss. If this is who Mary was than everyone else in the holy family is secondary.
You can guess that's not my image of Mary.
Jesus birth is only one of a series of miracles when you consider that he lived through infancy, or that he made it to adolescence let alone adulthood.
I'm not talking, "raising a child is hard."
I'm talking, raising a child in a place without clean drinking water or basic sanitation is hard.
I'm talking no antibiotics when Jesus got pnemonia or infection when you cut yourself.
I'm talking basic diarrhea can be deadly in the wrong environment.
I'm talking no chemotherapy or radiation when Mary got breast cancer.
I'm talking no therapy, no medical support when Joseph had a stroke.
These thoughts for me beg the question- what was the support of the holy family when life was tough?
So I am taking this time in Advent to spend some energy thinking about the largess of the holy family. Who were Jesus' aunts and uncles, his cousins, his grandparents (on both sides)? Who were the neighbors and friends? Who did he stay with as his father died a slow painful death? Who held his mother in grief when he finally died? What aunties scolded him for silly things when they were actually frustrated at their spouses for serious things? What uncles did he listen to talk about serious fears? Who did he get woken up by in the middle of the night to the sounds of love making (lets be honest there weren't too many bedrooms back in the day)?
We so often think of the Holy Family as 3 people. (Perhaps, if we know our tradition well, we consider Joachim and Anna who are considered by tradition Mary's parents- so 5 people) But what if we consider the holy family larger like 35 people?
If, perhaps we can consider the largess of this family then we can allow for the chaos of holidays with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and random extra guests part of the story of where Jesus comes from. Not from a silent night. And not from a solidary life- but from a mixed bag of stories, struggles, triumphs, mystics, mental illness and all the things that family is.
That is part of the celebration that is Christmas. Another baby joins a family. A blessed and chaotic family.
I don't have answers to all or really any of these questions. Except that I think posing them is as important as anything.