Sunday, December 28, 2014

Nurturing the Spiritual Gifts of a Holy Family

The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

During the season of Christmas we gather together to see our families and practice our traditions and faith together.  In the Gospel of Luke, we learn about the church practices in the early years of the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.  This scripture demonstrates how the presence of the Holy Spirit enacts each person’s God given spiritual gifts which are then illuminated and nurtured within the family and church community.

As was the custom of the day, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus as a child to be presented at the temple. We learn about Simeon, an elder in the church.  With the power of the Holy Spirit on Simeon, he gazed upon the sight of Jesus and described him to God and the community present as “your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”  

We also learn about Anna, one known in the church community as prophetess, who spoke to the church community “about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.”

The scripture goes on to describe the family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph returning to their hometown of Nazareth where “The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”  We see evidence that Mary and Joseph nurtured the spiritual gift of wisdom in their child as was earlier shared in the temple by Simeon and Anna.

We've heard the phrase, “it takes a village to raise a child”.  This adage can be applied in our church communities in relation to spiritual gifts.  Spiritual gifts are given by God through new life in Baptism.  Parents bringing forth children for the Sacrament of Baptism are asked to be the first and best teachers in the ways of faith, godparents are asked to assist with this responsibility and together profess a communal faith affirmed by the community gathered.  It takes everyone in the faith community to nurture the spiritual gifts of each baptized child.

We all have the opportunity to help the children of our community grow in faith by identifying and nurturing their spiritual gifts.  Who today can we assist in the ways of faith?  Is it our own child or one of someone else? We need only to turn our heads and look around right where we are at to find a child and a holy family to nurture. 

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