By Sharon Agnes Wilson

Today is the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. For our Liturgy today, there are multiple choices for readings. It struck me as appropriate when we consider every family is different. Families come in all sizes and makeups. Families, whether big or small, continually change throughout our lives. One constant in families and present in today’s readings is the theme of forgiveness.  

“If one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.” Colossians 3:13

The family can be an excellent place to learn the work of forgiveness. When my children were little, and they would get into a fight, we would make them sit on the couch together and hold hands until they could “feel the love.” You see, it is not enough to just say the words; you have to mean them. Even though I know that my children probably were still mad at each other when saying they “felt the love,” at least they had to work together, even if just cooperating against me so they could get off of the couch! My adult children laugh about this now, but they also realize that it taught them that forgiveness is not just words.  

Forgiveness is a hard thing. It can seem that it is easier to hold a grudge than to forgive. Still, as Angela Buttimer, a psychotherapist in Georgia, put it, “When we hold on to grudges and resentment, it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.”

When life’s circumstances or disagreements divide us, what can bring us together?

LOVE

“And over all these put on love, 

that he is, the bond of perfection.

And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, 

the peace into which you were also called in one body.” Colossians 3:14-15

The Holy Family can teach us many things, but the ability to love each other is the greatest.

As we look to the close of this year, ask yourself who you need to forgive. It has been a complicated year, but what if we were to start 2021 with a new heart?  

What if you…

Entered the new year with a light heart?

Forgave everyone for all misdeeds in the past?

Loved and trusted God so much that you were able to respond to hurts with compassion, love, and forgiveness?  

spent the year,” feeling the love?”

Prayer

Lord, help me to model my actions from that of the Holy Family. Help me respond with love in all situations, and Lord, help me love you above all else.

Call to Action

Spend time in prayer, asking God who you need to forgive. Write down their name in your journal and make a point to pray for them often.