NOTE: All reflections throughout the Advent and Christmas season will be available on our homepage and then archived on our Advent-Christmas 2022 webpage.

The reflection below is from Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN from the 2016 Advent reflection booklet, Journey Towards Justice! Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2016.

by Sr. Anne-Louise Nadeau, SNDdeN

Sirach 3:2-6, 12-14 | Colossians 3:12-21 | Matthew 2:13-15, 19-23

“Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you.” (Mt 2:13)

All too often our dominant culture interferes with seeing reality as it really is. We have romanticized notions of what family life is supposed to be about and even more sentimentalized and skewed ideas about the family of Jesus.

The Gospel opens with Joseph’s dream to go to Egypt to keep the family safe and ends with another dream to return to Israel. Did we ever stop to consider that Egypt is in Africa and that Egyptians are a Black and Brown community? If indeed Egypt was a safe haven for the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and the newborn Jesus must share the racial characteristics of the Egyptian people so they did not stand out in exile. Jesus and his family were from the Middle East but somehow the typical portrayal of Joseph, Mary and Jesus in the U.S. is European.

Although Joseph interpreted his dream as the will of God for him, he was still fearful of returning since Herod’s son had succeeded his father as ruler. Yet they did return home.

On the feast of the Holy Family, we can identify with the fear of parents everywhere: Is the neighborhood safe? Will my child have good friends? Will I be able to provide what my child needs? Will our values be enough to sustain our child when life gets challenging? Will this child honor and care for us as we age? Will this child walk in the way of God as we try to do?

The family in Nazareth had no more guarantees than we do today. Parenting was and remains both a mystery and a gift to be lived, one day at a time, relying upon God’s grace. May your children be raised in a house of justice all the days of their lives.


On whom/what do you model your family life?

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