Jesus: Who Do You Think You Are? The peaceful manger of our imagination masks so much disturbance and uncertainty.
In this season the website Thinking Faith has been running a fascinating series exploring Jesus’s family tree. It concludes with a study of those closest to him: Mary and Joseph. Anthony Towey wonders how the ‘greatest story ever told’ has acquired such a peaceful gloss, when in fact it is riddled with disturbance and uncertainty. For the Feast of the Holy Family, we turn our gaze to two new parents and try to capture the faith, hope and love that sustained them in their turmoil.
The reflection begins with “From a very young age, Mary, Joseph and Jesus were held up to me as ‘The Holy Family’ – a haloed trio artistically represented with sublime, serene aspect. They seemed very different to our family and the noisy, feisty reality of my own upbringing as the only brother to five elder sisters. To be sure I was dimly aware that there would be sorrows ahead. Like someone who had seen a spoiler for a TV series, I knew that Jesus would suffer. Yet even then, resurrection was the antidote to Calvary; and the Holy Family were still copper-bottomed solid and deep-pool calm. My mum occasionally grumbled that ‘Mary only had one – she should have tried keeping track of six’, but I was more taken with the fact that according to the carol, little Lord Jesus was so holy that he didn’t even cry in a manger. Shut down Mothercare – no dummy necessary!
But these are the thoughts of children. For the older person contemplating the Christmas mystery there is more than enough in the storyline to shred the nerves and fuse even the most unresponsive synapse. Indeed ‘Christmas peace’ is a classic biblical oxymoron!
Reading the rest of this post will give new life and relevance to what we think we know.
Another short teaser or two..
Typical male.. ‘Sooner believe an angel in a dream than his own fiancée in real life!’ …..
We are told that Joseph was a bit older (this being perhaps an explanation for why he isn’t around at the time of the Passion). Age does not normally help us with romance, but it delights me that a sign of the spirit is that even old folk can still dream (Acts 2:17).
Image courtesy of Free Bible Images