Sunday, December 29, 2013

feast of the Holy Family: intentional loving is a lot of work

“Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another, 
if one has a grievance against another; 
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do.
And over all these put on love, 
that 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.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, 
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, 
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs 
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, 
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God the Father through him. 
~Colossians 3: 12-17

It’s been a jam-packed week.

Our complete, whole family gathered for 3 nights/4 days… that’s three little people and 12 adults—with some able to join us before Christmas Eve, and others staying longer. 

I confess that nothing delights my heart more than filling up a pew at church—and having a rowdy, full table for Nochebuena dinner (our traditional Cuban feast of pork, black beans, plátanos, yucca)!

2013 marked our first Christmas ever with everyone gathered under one roof, including the 1-year-old Twinkies, my parents, my brother, and all three married couples.

But besides Nochebuena and Christmas Day, our family also celebrated together two birthdays, my Dad’s 84th and my daughter-in-law Mary’s 30th, both on December 26th—AND our 32nd wedding anniversary the day after that.

That’s a lot of goodness and merriment packed into a very short amount of time.

But please, don’t idolize our Week of Wonderful. With that many people and that much going on, the Texas-sized serving of goodness also includes side-dishes of: mess and chaos; arguing; hurt feelings; mis-understandings; anxiety; unending piles of dirty dishes; lack of sleep; bickering… You get the idea.

As our insightful Deacon reminded us in today’s homily, being family requires a lot of deliberate, mindful work—including massive doses of forgiveness, gentleness, understanding, appreciation, respect, compassion, patience. Just Go back and read St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians that I quoted above!

Intentional loving is a lot of work.

It is no great surprise that I’ve spent the last 24 hours catching up on rest and sleep!

After all, tomorrow is Elenita’s third birthday. And we are still on a holding pattern waiting for our 4th grandchild to be born… any day now.

I am truly, deeply blessed. Happy feast of the Holy Family indeed.

Christmas 2013