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Pamela Czarnota Pamela Czarnota

Pamelas Czarnota is a member of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod Congregational Resource Team, and a conference speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director and writer.

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Got Drama?

December 27, 2011

In Luke 2:41-52, the children of God are invited to witness another scene in the life of the Holy Family. 

Now, we know that this wasn't your average family.  After all, these folks followed the guidance of visions and angels.  Joseph accepted the counsel of an angel when he contemplated setting aside his plans to marry his betrothed, who was found to be mysteriously pregnant. Later, when Mary was at full term, and possibly in the beginning stages of child birth Joseph (a law abiding citizen) said they needed to go on a trip to his hometown to be counted. 

So Joseph placed Mary on a donkey  (remember, she was great with child) and they travelled miles to Bethlehem where their first child was born in a cave/stable(inns were few, far between, and most likely unable to accommodate the crowds coming to town for the census).   

The baby, named Jesus (also at the advice of an angel) slept in the feeding trough for ox, sheep and cows. The new family was visited by a bunch of terrified shepherds and then by three magi who arrived on camels bearing rich, precious substances as gifts.  Mary continued to ponder all of this in her heart! 

Eight days later, following their religious law (according to Moses) Mary and Joseph took their baby to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.  While they were there, an old guy recognized the baby as the Messiah who would turn the world around, inside out, and upside down, all on behalf of the people of God. The same old guy told Mary, who had followed God's will to perfection, that the events unleashed at the hand of her sweet baby boy would pierce her heart like a sword.  (Not much comfort for Mary there!) Then the family wandered about searching for safety...

In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, we are told that when they heard (from an angel, of course!) that Herod was killing male children under two years of age, the family took off (again on a donkey, most likely) to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died. 

Now Luke tells us how Mary and Joseph lost track of the twelve year old Jesus for about three days.  (I was separated from my 2 year old daughter at a mall once for about 15 minutes and thought the fear was going to stop my heart--what must Mary and Joseph have felt?) They anxiously retraced their steps, searching crowded streets and pathways for their son. They found him in the temple, and found him calm, even wondering about their concern when they expressed it!  He wasn't lost at all!!!  He was where he needed to be, doing precisely what he needed to be doing.

According to the closing of Luke, life in the Holy Family apparently settled down, for a while, and Jesus grew in wisdom and years, and in human and divine favor.  Perhaps life was even peaceful. We don't know for sure, do we?  Perhaps their days then became more like ours.   You know, basic economic realities, raising kids, minor injuries and illnesses, typical dealings with extended family, etc. 

Life in a family can be dramatic, right?  What drama!  Surprises.  Sometimes very little predictability.  How do the experiences of this, the Holiest of Families, speak to you? What do these situations say about God's involvement in His family?  What can you learn about yourself (one of God's chosen and beloved children ) and your particular life path by reflecting upon their story?   

I am person of faith.  My family is one of faith.  The church is often termed a "family of faith".  Hmmmmm...how shall our drama unfold?  One thing for certain, with God, nothing is impossible!


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