These weren’t make-believe characters in a book of fairy tales, but real people who lived through some pretty harrowing times...Theirs was no winter wonderland, but a journey of whole-hearted trust in God for whom “nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37).
The feast of the Holy Family, marks a time to honor these three flesh-and-blood figures of faith and promise. It is also an occasion to consider the holiness inherent in domestic life. Jesus was born into a family who nurtured, protected, taught, and raised him to adulthood. Although we know little about his life as a youth, it is not hard to picture him doing the same things any well-loved child would do – playing games, learning to read, helping with household chores, moving into larger social circles among his relatives, neighbors, and townspeople. During Jesus’ time, mothers like Mary would teach their children how to pray and share the stories of their ancestors, the Jewish people. Also during Jesus’ time, sons would have learned a trade from their fathers. Joseph, a carpenter by trade, taught Jesus about woodworking. Through it all, Mary and Joseph are there to model what it means to live by faith and to illustrate what makes a family holy. The Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph is an opportunity to talk about the Holy Family and the children’s own families. Catholic kids will connect with these aspects of Jesus’ childhood, which will help them to draw parallels to their own lives.
Help Catholic kids and families honor the Holy Family during the Christmas season and to reflect on the importance of family in our lives of faith. Encourage them to discuss what makes their family “holy” and what each family members admire about the Holy Family. Help families look for ways to extend Christmas charity to other families in need. Coordinate with your parish social ministry coordinator to offer or share information about programs and projects that provide services and resources for local needy families.
Here are even more ideas to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family:
With the Gifts from God Activity, children will present gift cards to family members to expressing how they help him or her to grow in God’s love.
Integrate Scripture, reflection, and a craft with a Holy Family Prayer Service for children and families. This simple prayer service is appropriate for home or school for the youngest disciples.
Value the true meaning of family and how your family can be a place Jesus lives, reflecting the model given to us by the Holy Family with a Prayer for the Holy Family Prayer Card.
Remember that the feast of the Holy Family is an occasion to consider the holiness inherent in domestic life with the Prayer for Families Prayer Card.