A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth.
Shortly after receiving the news that she was to carry the Christ-child, Mary headed to the home of Elizabeth, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth was Mary’s relative, perhaps an aunt or cousin. Mary and Elizabeth were family.
It is interesting that the first impulse of Mary, having received the news that she would give birth to the Messiah, was to tell her relatives. The anticipation of the first Christmas brought family members together.
Christmas is a time when families come together. Family holiday gatherings often are the highlight of the year. They can be fun, pleasant times when kids and grandkids, uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, cousins and all sorts of extended kin share a meal, exchange some gifts and generally enjoy being with each other.
For some families, these gatherings are not so enjoyable. They can be disappointing and painful experiences. Instead of sharing love and laughter, the holiday atmosphere is sometimes filled with tension and strife. Ugly interactions reopen old emotional wounds. Resentments between family members are rekindled. Hateful, hurtful words are spoken. Dysfunctional family patterns are displayed.
When Christ came, He gave us the opportunity to join His family. When we make Jesus Christ our Lord, we become a part of the family of God. We have a Heavenly Father who loves and accepts us unconditionally. Jesus Christ watches over us as our big brother (see Hebrews 2:11). We are a part of the greatest family of all!
This Christmas, enter into the joy of your Heavenly family. Prayerfully look for ways to share the message of Jesus’ coming with your earthly family also. Let God’s love fill you and flow through you to others.
Lord, thank you for adopting us into your family. We are comforted when we think about your love and care for us. Help us share your love with our earthly family. May you heal hurts from the past and reconcile broken family relationships during this Christmas season. In Jesus’ name, Amen.