We have no evidence that the vocation of Anna, Simeon, the Magi, or the shepherds changed in any way after their encounter with the baby Jesus. What did happen in each of their lives was the same as Anna today; they told the story of their encounter. They, like Anna, shared what they experienced with anyone who would listen.
At the end of today’s account from Luke, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus “returned to Galilee,to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;and the favor of God was upon him” (Lk 2:39-40). No ticker-tape parade, no giving the key to the city, and no gala ball awaited the Holy Family when they entered Nazareth. They went on to live very simple lives.
The pattern of how God works, how his kingdom begins is like a mustard seed, like the seed that is sown, or like yeast. It starts small, quietly, and simply. God works through the everyday events of our lives, often unseen. We so often look for the mighty, majestic, and grandiose. We often believe we need to do great things, and often do nothing. St Mother Teresa directs us to do, what she learned from the Little Flower, St Therese of Lisieux, little things with great love.
As the Christmas Season continues, we are experiencing that life has already or has begun to shift; families and friends have come and gone or are readying to go, vacation days are coming to an end. May we not allow the encounter that we have experienced with Jesus in celebrating his birth, as well as in coming together, just fade into the busyness of life again. Let us appreciate the gift we have been given in our relationships of family and friends, and renew our commitment to keeping in touch and supporting one another. Life can be hard and can change in an instant because it is fragile.
As the Holy Family begins their journey to Nazareth, and we begin to return to our normal course of daily living, may we be open to the quiet and gentle ways of how God is working in our lives. As seeds are planted so to germinate and sprout, as the yeast begins to cause the dough to rise, may we commit to support and care for one another, to be aware and reach out to those in need, to be open to expressing our need for help and allowing others to assist us. When we do so we will start to see God working in our lives and begin to recognize the simplicity of divinity operating within the midst of our humanity. The Holy Spirit is inviting us to be transformed in this new year, to kindle in us the fire of his love so it may spread to others. We are to watch, pray, and cooperate with his will if he is to renew the face earth through us.
Photo: First Christmas back home in Connecticut in about 20 years