Editor’s note: During Advent, Father Ken Kirkman has offered weekly reflections at thecatholicsun.com to help us all prepare our hearts and minds during this season of anticipation and hope. This is the fourth and final reflection in the series. Read the first here, the second here, and the third here

The way the calendar falls this year, the Fourth Sunday of Advent is followed a few hours later by Christmas Eve. Since Bishop Cunningham has proclaimed the Year of the Family in our diocese, however, this is an excellent opportunity for us to turn our minds and hearts to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. In the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday, and at Christmas, we can learn through them what family truly is. It isn’t about possessions, expectations, or status; they did not have much of any of these. Instead, the Holy Family, in everything they do, seek God’s will and live it out in love for each other.

The “yes” Mary and Joseph say to each other, and to God’s plan for them, is founded on their “yes” to God. Because of this, they are willing to put everything on the line for the sake of the promised Child, our Lord Jesus. Called to make heroic sacrifices, to travel far from home and to experience poverty and uncertainty, Mary and Joseph nevertheless find untainted joy and happiness at Jesus’ birth. That same joy and happiness is open to us, and often in the same context: our families. This Christmas, may the light from Bethlehem shine on all our families and may Jesus, Mary, and Joseph intercede for us.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Father Kirkman serves as parochial vicar of St. Mary and St. Anthony of Padua in Cortland.

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