By Sharon Wilson
Today is the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We reflect on this day that Jesus was part of a family just like all families. They ate together, cleaned together, worked together, visited relatives and in general, lived with each other. On this feast day – we look to the Holy family as a model for our families. But, hey, Mary was born without sin and Jesus, well, he is God. That means Joseph was just surrounded by so much grace all the time he probably never even lost his temper!
I don’t think anyone would mistake my family for the Holy Family! We fight, talk over each other and are strong willed and crabby sometimes. We are impatient and short tempered, but we do get one thing right. We love and forgive each other.
One of the greatest lessons I learned over this past year was when my Mother in Law was put into Hospice care and died a few days later. The family sat down with the hospice care nurse and as she observed this big, opinionated, boisterous, loving family she gave us one bit of advice. “Be Generous with each other.” The choice of the word generous is what hit me. Not patience or tolerance, but generous!
We often think of the word generous as applying to a monetary value. Give generously to the church (or to WINE) and that is a very good thing, but to ‘live’ generosity is something quite different.
In the entomology (original meaning) of the word generous it says:
1580s, ” from Latin generosus “of noble birth,” figuratively “magnanimous, generous,” from genus (genitive generis) “race, stock” (from PIE root *gene- “give birth, beget,” with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups).
Secondary senses of “unselfish” (1690s) and “plentiful” (1610s) in English were present in French and in Latin.
So, the word generous comes from the same root word as gene “give birth” – and relates to family and noble birth as in familial and tribal groups. It’s only in the secondary meaning that it means unselfish or plentiful.
How often is it that we are the least generous with our family. We know each other’s faults and know how to hurt each other. It seems I have time and patience for everyone but my family.
In the days after my mother-in law was put into hospice, the family had decisions to make, exhausting care and life in close spaces. Everyone was grieving differently and we all had to understand that my way of coping may not be another person’s way. We allowed that for each other. The grace of generosity was evident.
It is that sort of generosity we need to keep every day.
Give that sort of generosity to your family and those closest to you.
This year, make a new resolution. Be the most generous to your family or those you live with.
AND – give generously to WINE, we are after all… family! (tax deductions for 2017 until midnight!)
p.s – And tomorrow (January 1) is my birthday! I hope my family is generous with me!
About the Author:
Sharon Wilson – Wife, Mother, Writer, Catholic Speaker, and a WINE Specialist. Sharon has a degree in education and has worked as a freelance writer, Respect Life Coordinator, a teacher, in advertising, radio, buyer and in youth advocacy – She even rode an elephant in the circus once! Sharon speaks, writes and shares about God’s healing and about the great gift of being Catholic.