Feast of the Holy Family
The Feast of the Holy Family is one of the feast days for which we use the same readings every year. This year, I will look at Colossians 3:12-17.
Last year, I looked at the expanded version of these verses, which make a little more clear that Paul is not just outlining for us how Christians are supposed to act toward each other, that it is most particularly important (and most particularly difficult at times) within the contexts of our own families.
I know that when I was growing up, wrongs done by my family weren’t half so hard to let go of as those from anybody else. And it is twice as important to forgive them.
There is a reason God gave us these annoying people to grow up with! It is because our families are schools of learning how to forgive, and practicing that forgiveness throughout our lives. It is because the world will hate us because it hated Christ first - the world will be trying to hurt us.
Our families may irritate us, but they are not like the world. A parent’s critical eye does not come with the intention of finding fault; it rather comes with the intention of refining gold.
I know every family comes with problems. It is because we are fallen creatures and do not love as we were originally built to, and we do not express that love as God would have us express it. There’s a reason that forgiveness made Paul’s list!
We won’t have perfect families. As much as we may want to trade them in sometimes, the best we can do is to work on the one person that we can actually control: ourselves. To do all we can not to irritate one another, and more importantly, to forgive and allow ourselves to be forgiven for the times when we fail, or when others fail us.
I know I’m going to mess up every day. I’m going to snap at people sometimes. I’m going to have selfish moments. I’m going to grumble about stuff. I’m going to do things because I want them to be noticed.
That doesn’t mean I should give up before I start. That means that when I fail, I need to get up, seek forgiveness from God, from anyone I hurt, and just as importantly I need to forgive myself, keep praying that God will keep reforming me to more closely reflect his likeness, and keep trying.
I am sure you have had your “moments” this Christmas. I know that I’ve had mine. Not that it’s really “okay” to have them, but it’s going to happen. We’re fallen creatures, and so it’s part of the reality of being human.
Let’s ask the Lord to come into those moments of brokenness, and ask him to heal us and give us the grace to forgive and be forgiven.
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