He went with them to Nazareth,
and was obedient to them, advancing in
wisdom and favor before God and the people.
From Luke 2:51-52
This second day of New Year 2021, as I embrace the 363 days which lie ahead, I’m going to try to keep in mind that every moment of every day offers the opportunity to begin anew.
With that in mind, I sense that the Christmas Spirit around me is slowing easing away. The joy of the first Christmas faded just as quickly. After all, poor Mary and Joseph had a baby in tow for the long trek home from Bethlehem. There, life would fall into some level of normalcy and they would be left on their own to raise Jesus, much as we are left on our own to do what we do. This means, of course, that God watches over us and remains with us all the while.
This year, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to remember that the ordinary days of our lives are as important for us as they were for Jesus. On Christmas, we whittled down our usually large and festive celebrations into more intimate gatherings. The joy we shared with those closest to us provided the perfect reminder that the best of this life can be found in simple experiences.
Long ago in Nazareth, perhaps picking up playthings and helping to clear the table predisposed Jesus to becoming a responsible adult. Perhaps his willingness to cooperate helped young Jesus to notice when another was in need. Perhaps being thanked by his parents taught Jesus to be grateful when others were kind to him. Perhaps there were times when the Holy Family did without things in order to share with others. These choices taught Jesus the generosity characteristic of his encounters with the suffering in adulthood. Perhaps the seemingly mundane things that you and I do for others are making an impression as well.
Dear God, help us to transform our simple lives into holy lives, one good deed at a time.
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