Family, Jesus, and the Holidays

The last several weeks have been chock-full of family-- either time with, or references to. We've spent time with Mr. M's family, I've met a half-brother for the first time (my father was... erm... prolific), I've cringed through various dramas on all sides of the family, I've attended one wedding where the families really seemed to like each other, and finally, I've listened to one Christmas sermon on how wonderful babies are.

So, I've been thinking about family from a lot of angles.

I've been thinking about whether the fact that someone is related to you is important. I have (see prolific pater familias, above) an awful lot of family I've never met. I have other family members who don't treat each other at all well. Geographical distance pretty much keeps me out of both groups, but I have questions about whether shared genes matter.

I've been thinking about whether it would be a good idea to add another generation to extended families that don't love each other very well. Honestly, it makes me a little queasy. I've been particularly struggling with this over the last several months. The Christmas Eve service felt really painful in light of this question.

I've been thinking about how precious the family you choose is. I've been able to travel a lot this year (not long trips, just a few states away, but several times), and on each trip I've been able to see people I love dearly. They're not technically sisters, brothers, cousins, and grandfathers, but my soul thinks they are.

I've been thinking about what we owe each other, as biological families, and whether that's really different from what we all owe each other as human beings.

During the Eucharist, I often think about the body of Christ all over the world receiving Communion with me: Rob, Nancy, Charlotte, Mary Beth, Diane, Kate, Robin, and scores more. Family.

And in the midst of all of this, I'm hearing Jesus rhetorically ask, "who are my mother and brothers?"


  1. Lovely. As someone childless by choice (I married a man 15 years older than me who was THROUGH with having kids) I know a little bit of this discomfort.

    Here's the question: do you WANT to have a baby? What about spouse? I think that'd be the main thing.

  2. I also am childless, but would have had children had I gotten married a little earlier (I love children), so what Mary Beth says resonates with me. Babies are wonderful if you want them.

    Prayers for you in you and your husband's discernment.

  3. I certainly see the wisdom in that, but for us, part of the question of whether we want kids really is how sad the extended family is.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins