This lesson is really two small ones highlighting a couple of celebrations that happen very shortly after Christmas.
The feast of the Holy Family reminds us of the sanctity of the family unit. God was born into a family and that says amazing things about the importance of the family in God’s plan!
The future of humanity passes by way of the family.
(If you want to know more, I HIGHLY recommend these two, very readable, Church documents: The Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World and John Paul II’s shorter Letter to Families. But I digress.)
It’s a little daunting to think of the Holy Family as an example for my family, since we’re constantly falling short of that measure, but not only is their example truly the goal, but Mary and Joseph can be our very best intercessors, if only we remember to ask for their help!
There are a couple activities for this part of the lesson. The first is to just do a little examination of your progress. What are you doing right? What are some things you can do as a family to grow in holiness?
The second activity is just to follow the script for prayer on page 3. Light a candle and spend just a few minutes praying together.
The next part of the lesson is about Epiphany, traditionally celebrated on January 6, but moved to the nearest Sunday in most US dioceses. On this day we remember the journey of the Magi (Three Wise Men, Three Kings) to Bethlehem and their search for Truth, their gifts, and the implication that Jesus came for everyone and not just for the Jews.
Again, this lesson has two activities. The first one focuses on the idea of gifts and how we can give ourselves to others and to our parish. You’ll see a gift card on page 7 of the lesson; think about some way your family can give a gift to your parish (either service or prayer), write it on the card and simply put it in the collection next time you’re at Mass.
The other activity is instructions for the ancient tradition of blessing our homes on Epiphany. It’s a fun activity to do on your own, but also works as a procession with several families involved. Simply move from house to house, praying the blessing prayers, and end with some kind of potluck supper at the last home to be blessed.
If you would like to use blessed chalk for this activity, check with someone at your parish about the procedure for having something blessed. At the Church of Saint Paul, simply leave the item, with a note, in the sacristy before Mass and pick it up afterward. You can also bring the item in during regular office hours (along with your name and contact information) and we’ll have Father do it at his convenience.
Remember that all blessed items should be treated with respect and disposed of properly when they are no longer usable. If you do get chalk blessed, you’ll want to store it in a specially marked package so it doesn’t get mixed in with your children’s other art supplies.