Family matters.

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Home > Media > News > Family matters.
Family matters.

Family matters! Most of us put this idea to the test each Christmas when we share a meal, a gift, or at the very least, a card, with family members near and afar.  More than any other time during the year, Christmas is when we try to reconnect and recharge our familial bonds.

Over 5.6 million Australians will open their home to entertain family and friends this Christmas, spending more than 554 million dollars on food and drink.

This sounds lavish and festive, but as we all know, it’s not always pretty.  Christmastide brings out the best, and sometimes the worst elements of family life.  It can be just as much a time for quarrelling as for carolling. It’s often when we discover that the only thing we have in common with our extended family is other relatives!

Yet we usually line up for more of the same, year after year, because family does matter to us, and it matters deeply.   Amongst other things, by uniting the generations, Christmas gatherings bring us into contact with our history and our future.  Listening to Grandad’s stories, checking in with teenage nephews or playing with children, all provide us with a sense of belonging and help us to understand who we are and where our lives might be headed.

While Jesus clearly did not celebrate Christmas, he too would have experienced the joys and challenges of family gatherings and festivities.  

Reflecting upon Jesus’ family tree, as outlined in Matthew’s Gospel, Bishop Robert Barron notes that: “If the Word truly became flesh, then God had, not only a mother, but also a grandmother, cousins, great-aunts, and weird uncles.  If the Word truly dwelt among us, then he was part of a family that, like most, was fairly dysfunctional, a mix of the good and bad, the saintly and the sinful, the glorious and the not so glorious.  And this is such good news for us.”

No family is perfect. Yet as Pope Francis reminded us during his visit to the USA this year, one of the most beautiful mysteries of our Christian faith is that God did not want to come into the world other than through a family. God did not want to draw near to humanity other than through a home. God did not want any other name for himself than Emmanuel (cf. Mt 1:23). He is ‘God with us.’

The extraordinary thing about the Incarnation is that God chose to enter the world through an ordinary family.  And this is why family matters.