The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Feast of the Holy Family - 27th December 2009

Did you ever gaze at a distant house as the sun dropped over the hill? Did you ever notice the windows shining in the setting sun? Didn't they look like windows of gold? Didn't those houses seem to be bursting with gold? Did you ever hike over to see - to see whether those houses were really houses of gold?

A ten-year-old boy once did that. From his house on the hill he saw another house on another hill. In the setting sun the far-off windows seemed like windows of gold. It seemed the owner pulled down the blinds, because after a while the boy could not see the golden windows. He would find out. He would see for himself. He set off.

It was a long walk, but he finally arrived, only to find that the house was like any other building - no gold in its windows, no gold inside. With his chin in his hands he leaned upon the fence and stared disappointedly at the dismal windows. Weariedly he turned toward his own home, to dis­cover to his joy that its windows were made of gold. His own house was bursting with gold.

The trip home took much less time. It was already dark. But as he plodded nearer the gate the light of the lamp in the windows made them look like gold; the flare of the fireplace across the lawn was golden like the setting sun. The lamp and the fireplace gave the best golden glow after all.

Whether or not your home is filled with gold will depend on how closely it is modeled after a certain home of long ago. It was an unusually humble place in a little town called Nazareth. There lived the three most precious people in the world. Like that little boy of our story we will hurry to the tiny dwelling whose brightness shines across the world and across the centuries. The glow of a heavenly calm and happiness fills it to overflowing. The very walls and ceiling seem to have been made with materials from heaven. It might be the poorest, the smallest, but certainly it is not the darkest house in Nazareth. We are drawn to it. We want to stop. We want to look in. We want to enter. We want to stay there.

Peek in for a moment. We see a middle-aged man, rather tall, muscular, and strongly silent. He is sharpening tools. In a homemade rocking chair sits a very youngish looking woman, with heaven glowing in her face, so that the wool with which she works seems spun of gold. A boy about twelve sits on a stool near the man, watching every move closely, picking up everything he lays down, handling it, gazing at it proudly, and then placing it in the row of tools upon the floor.

A very ordinary family, to be sure, and yet extremely extraordinary. Evidently there is abundance of love, not sniveling sentimentality, or indif­ferent indulgence, or carefree negligence, but thoughtful, self-sacrificing, understanding affection.

Looking at those holy three, you get the idea they would rather be there than anywhere else in the world; you get the impression that they are their own best company.

Article posted on 26th of December 2009

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