Homily for Christmas, 2016
For my homily this evening I will refer to the photos printed in the order of service on the front and back covers, and on page 11. The photos were cover photos for the New York Times in the fall of 2015.
These photos of young Syrian families help us to imagine what it might have been like for the Holy Family at the first Christmas 2,000 years ago. As the husband attends with concern to his wife in the cover photo, so I imagine Joseph to have tended with concern to Mary as she traveled, full-term, to Bethlehem. Maybe – as is the woman in the photo – Joseph even wrapped Mary in a blanket to keep her warm. Like the mothers in the field care for their infants in the photo on page 11, so I imagine Mary to have been in fields with Jesus as they traveled home from Bethlehem, occasionally stopping to rest and nurse. Like the boy on the back cover looking up to the woman helping him with a coat, so I imagine Jesus to have looked up to adults helping him when the Holy Family fled to Egypt to escape King Herod, for – like the refugee boy in the photo – he probably needed clothing, too, after his family fled suddenly in the middle of the night. Continue reading