The article of the month

The Holy Family by Jennifer Hubbard

The sheep recline beside the crèche while the donkey lies with the ox, the Mother gazes at the Babe, the shepherds and kings prostrate themselves, and the earthly father stands watch. I am captivated by this season’s quintessential and often romanticized scene. As I ponder its essence, I realize I have failed to acknowledge that this is but a glimpse of a single moment. Leading to it is Mary’s Fiat despite dire earthly consequences, and Joseph’s staying and not quietly divorcing, and a weary journey where, ripe with child, they travel to Bethlehem. Despite apprehension, trepidation, and, surely, fear, heaven and earth unite, and God’s peace exudes.

It is in this moment of grace that I wonder whether I would truly understand its example had my little one not died. There is a picture taken of the three of us not long after. I can still taste the salty tears and feel my shoulders buckling under the weight of grief. Despite the sadness, there is a stillness that emanates from the photograph. It is a stillness similar to that which I ponder in the manger, and I realize that it is among family where vulnerability exists without shame, where peace can be found. The Holy Family is God’s chosen, his example and gift, a living witness of the sanctity of family, modeled by our heavenly Mother and her spouse. It is in the solemnity of this unit where rest is found, strength is renewed, and I am offered a glimpse of the heavenly family that awaits.

Jennifer Hubbard resides in Newtown, Conn. The younger of her two children, Catherine Violet, was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.