I come from a large family; I have 7 siblings; I am the 5th child of 8. Being a middle child, I know the experience of being born into an already existing group and the experience of having younger brothers and sisters. I can remember their births and entry into the family, and bunk beds and sharing a room with my brothers. I remember having to share bathroom time! I remember having chores around the house which rotated weekly. I remember how having new kids in the family changed the family dynamics and parental attention I was receiving, but I also remember the joy of having more brothers and sister to fight with, play with, and yes, to love. I am grateful for the experience.
Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus into our human family, and this birth, like any birth, changes things. This birth reminds us first that God loves us, that God created us, that God desires to share life with us; It reminds us that we need to grow in wisdom and grace as we learn the teachings of Jesus, and develop a relationship with this God who is “God with us” (Emmanuel). It also reminds us that we are a family, that we have many brothers and sisters, that we are called to share the limited resources we have, and that mostly, we are to love one another.
One concrete manifestation of being a new family is the recent announcement that we will become a “Family of Parishes” with Our Lady of La Salette in Berkeley, Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Oak Park, and Divine Providence in Southfield. We are being invited to collaborate with them more closely and intentionally. We will enrich them and they will enrich us. Perhaps we should send them a Christmas gift! Being part of a “family” with them will no doubt change us, just like the birth of my siblings changed our family and the birth of Jesus change the human family. Change is not always easy, but it does help us to grow in love!
Merry Christmas to you and your families! We are glad you are part of our Transfiguration family. Thank you for your goodness and generosity all through the year. We will all be happy to see 2020 go, and ask God’s blessing upon the New Year and all that it holds for us.