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The Feast of the Holy Family is a day to remember the life that Joseph and Mary shared with Jesus in their Nazareth home. They provide a model for all families as we seek to love and support each other. What better way to celebrate this feast than to enjoy some quality time together with your own family?
Here are five ideas for family activities that will help you reflect upon the life that Jesus shared with Mary and Joseph:
The Gospels and tradition tell us that St. Joseph was a professional builder. He may have constructed all sorts of things – from furniture to buildings. Jesus would have spent much of his earthly life helping Joseph in his work, with the support of Mary.
To honor this aspect of the Holy Family’s life, try to make something together. This activity could be as simple as putting together a puzzle, but if you are more ambitious you might make winter bird houses or even do a home repair project together.
Jesus clearly understood the importance of breaking bread together. It was certainly an important part of his Jewish heritage and of his family life from the beginning.
You might celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family by cooking a meal together (baking pizzas, for instance), and then eating together. You could even create a menu around the actual foods that Jesus and his family would have enjoyed together. Consider inviting a neighbor over to join you, as hospitality was also a part of the Holy Family’s life together.
The parables show us that Jesus was a natural storyteller – a gift that would have been nurtured within his family. Biblical stories, family legends, and local tales would certainly have been shared and enjoyed, generating both laughter and serious discussion.
If one of your family members is especially creative, ask them to write up a story and share it with your family. Young kids could put on a puppet show or impromptu theater piece with help from mom and dad. Or you could consider reading a book aloud. We have hundreds of book recommendations you can choose from.
LOVING AND SERVING OTHERS
When we learn from the Gospels how Mary hurried off to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth or read about her concern for the newlyweds in Cana, it becomes evident that showing God’s love to others would have played a central role in the Holy Family’s life together.
Remembering and celebrating this aspect of their lives could be as simple as visiting a nursing home or picking up litter from around your church or local park. You might volunteer at a soup kitchen or food pantry. Your church and community will offer many opportunities to care for others – and any of these activities will give honor to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
MAKE A MINI-PILGRIMAGE
Whether journeying to Bethlehem for the Roman census, fleeing to Egypt to for the safety of their child, or journeying to Jerusalem for Passover, we see that the Holy Family were well-traveled. There may have been many other journeys they took that are not recorded in the Gospels.
Wherever they went, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would have had to deal with all the challenges that any travelers face, along with simple joys like sightseeing and meeting new people. Your family can honor this aspect of the Holy Family’s life together by taking a short pilgrimage to a local shrine, retreat center, or place of beauty that reminds you of the gift of creation.
No matter what activity you engage in to honor the Holy Family this weekend, take a moment to pray, asking the Lord to bless and bring unity to your own family.