Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the year, and it a season that invites us to celebrate and remember the story of the Holy Family—Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. We know this story by heart. This year, however, I invite us to take a deeper look and to celebrate and remember the yeses of the Holy Family.
There are three things the Holy Family can teach us about our own yes to God.
1. The Holy Family actively participated in their response to God’s invitation.
In Luke’s Gospel, we see Mary responding with both a verbal response, “Let it be to me according to your word,” (1:38) and then living out her response through her actions of carrying and birthing her son. In Matthew’s Gospel, we do not get to hear Joseph’s response, but we read the line of Scripture that shows his response through action, “He did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him.” (1:24) Jesus’ yes we see happening throughout Scripture as he grew into his ministry. All three members of the Holy Family actively participated in God’s invitation to bring about God’s kingdom through their words and actions. We, too, are invited to actively participate in God’s invitation to us. Is God inviting us to a verbal response and/or a response of action right now?
2. The Holy Family’s yes to God was not just one time, but an ongoing yes.
As a parent, I know that raising a child requires an ongoing commitment to God’s invitation to be a co-creator in nurturing and parenting a child. Mary and Joseph did not just say yes once, but they continued their response to God’s invitation to raise and nurture Jesus. Their response to God’s invitation deepened in their lives. Jesus’ response to God’s invitation occurred over and over again as he fully entered into his public ministry and later his passion, death, and resurrection. Where is God inviting us this Advent season to deepen our own yes?
3. The Holy Family rooted their lives in God.
Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were able to say yes to God because they had a relationship with God. While we only get a short glimpse into Mary’s and Joseph’s relationship with God, I can only imagine that it must have been strong and continuously nurtured. How else did they say yes to both birthing and raising the Messiah? The Gospels offer us many examples of Jesus turning to God the Father in prayer to help him continue to say yes to his mission. Do we need to nurture our own relationship with God this Advent season in order to say yes to an invitation?
I invite us this Advent to pause and let the story of the Holy Family’s creation deepen within us and help us say yes to God.