When we see Christmas scenes of Jesus’ birth, we observe a family of three: Mary, Joseph, and the infant in swaddling clothes. They appear like a nuclear family in the 21st century where mom and dad work and junior goes to daycare.

I wish we had more insight into Jesus’ growing up as he welcomed his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas and at least three sisters (see Matthew 13:56). Did all the sons join father Joseph in the carpentry trade? Did his sisters marry early and bring brothers-in-law into the mix? How did siblings respond to Jesus’ claims to be Messiah? We read in Scripture that it took a while for them to come around.

Why these questions at Christmas time? Because for me Christmas is about hope like that mentioned by the writer in Hebrews. And hope is best shared with family. This month, if God wills, our three sons will find their way to our home and we will eat, laugh, share, and encourage one another. And for any who struggle with health, or relationships, or vocations, we will find in the image of Jesus, the helpless babe so frail on straw, a source of strength. We know that his presence within us provides abundant potential for peace and purpose, despite our brokenness.

Can you find hope in the story of Christ as child? In Jesus’ family? Or in your family as a mirror of his in its less-than-perfectness?

God, celebrating Christmas with family can be challenging at times, yet even in this experience may I find hope for myself, and bring encouragement to siblings and parents alike. Amen.

Throughout This Day: As God to clearly show you how you can best meet as a family this year, and begin planning that time in his presence and theirs.

Tags: Advent Christmas Hebrews 13 family
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