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Advent Reflections Part 5: Christmas Day

Created by Joseph Benevento

When we come home from whatever Christmas Mass we attended, full of good feelings from once again hearing about the birth of the Christ child, and once again getting to sing out loud such hymns as O Come All Ye Faithful or Joy to the World, we are ready next to do all the other things commonly connected to Christmas day: opening presents, seeing family, having a big meal together.  And those are all good things.  During Advent, we’ve heard from more than one source about the “True meaning of Christmas,” but certainly generosity in giving, family and fellowship must be part of that true meaning.

Still, I think we should not forget about the Holy Family, just because the birth happened and the angels, shepherds and later the Three Wise Men all have given that birth its due.  Instead, I’d ask us to consider what came next for our blessed trio.  First, does anyone ever ask where they stayed the days following the birth?  Were they stuck in that stable for weeks at a time?  We celebrate the arrival of the Three Wise Men on January 6; can we really think Mary, Joseph and their baby  were still trying to make due in a stable all that time?  Rather, I’d like to believe they were taken in by the owners of the inn, or by some persons who had compassion for fellow Jews who had a blessed arrival of a son while far from their home. 

And I like to think that this reception by strangers signals to us that we must consider accommodating and helping others who have less than us and who don’t have the means for a comfortable Christmas feast or gifts.  Lots of us are especially generous during the holiday season; one thing we do is to donate money so that poor children can have some Christmas gifts.  Again, a very good thing.  But, just as Jesus, Mary and Joseph are still in about as questionable a situation the day after Christ’s birth as they were before, just as they needed someone to help them while Mary recovered from childbirth, so too should our concern for others and our generosity not wane once Christmas day is over, nor even once the tree and lights are taken down.

Consider the plight of the Holy Family.  The gospel of Matthew tells us they had to rush off in exile to a foreign land.  They then became  refugees, immigrants.  They didn’tt speak the language of their new country, nor did the people of that country share their religious beliefs or their cultural history.  All they had was their faith in God and their love for each other, a love that had to be strongly tested by such dire circumstances. 

How did Joseph find work to support his family?  Where did they stay?  How long did they have to be strangers in a strange land.?  I encourage all of us to think about the Holy Family and the challenges they faced after Christmas Day as an inspiration for us to treat people in need, and most particularly people who are struggling to adjust and thrive in a new place, with the same measure of compassion and understanding that we would want for the Holy Family.  There is a holiness in family itself that is protected by the love of the Holy Family, and we should unite in that support and protection for all of those who are in need.  That way we can continue to sing  about a  joy to the world that lasts far more than one single day of celebration.


My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect Son

In this beautifully written novel- a masterful retelling of the greatest story ever told – Joe Benevento weaves together authentic Jewish and early Christian history with a fresh, humorous, and relatable take on Joseph’s journey from simple man to father to saint.  A rich, majestic, and relevant read.

Gary Jansen, Author of Station to Station and the Christopher Award winner, Remember Us With Smiles.

Thanks to a generous partnership with the author, Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri will receive all royalties (in perpetuity) for the sales of the novel, My Perfect Wife, Her Perfect SonPurchase a copy for yourself (or a loved one as a wonderful Epiphany gift!) online at most bookstores or on Amazon.com.


Looking for more?

Click here to read and listen to past Advent Reflection episodes, including the Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Author Joe Benevento.