It all begins with family
Through Advent, as we prepare ourselves and our children for Christmas, it is a good time to look at how we welcome Jesus in our family life not only at Christmas but all through the year. The family is called the Domestic Church because we recognise that all of life, all of church, all of meaning and understanding begins here. The home is where we welcome the spirit of Jesus in the love of the parents, the smile of a baby, the laughter of toddlers, the wisdom of the five-year-old and the searching of the teenager. Our role as parents is not to ‘bring Jesus into the family’ but to recognise the divine presence already dwelling in our midst.
In families, especially at Christmas, usually over the meal with extended family, we tell the stories of our past, laugh hard at the funny ones and feel deeply the emotional ones. Have you seen how much attention your children pay to this? They simply hang on every word of the stories that tell them who they are now, and what has gone on before them. It is very simple to extend that into our Christian story – how we came to welcome Jesus into the world the first time – and how we continue to welcome Him over and over in our daily lives.
Our Christian story continues in the scriptures chosen for us daily, but especially on Sundays. As parents we can continue the story throughout the year by reading or summarising the Sunday Gospel; not as something disconnected but as a way of reflecting on how we are already living this out in our family.
Think of the stories of the prodigal son, the pearl of great price, the wedding feast of Cana, Zaccheus, the sermon on the mount, (my favourites) and all the others our children can relate to so much. If we take the time to share these stories before we go to Mass on Sunday, how alive the Gospel reading would become for all of us.
And how much more discussion would follow afterwards. And how enriched we would be as a family. Our children have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. Sharing our Christian stories with our children are ways of strengthening our own faith, our children’s faith, and our family life.
Visit www.loyolapress.com/sunday-connection.htm for a selection of Sunday readings and commentary.