In our Sunday message series for Advent and Christmas that we’re calling, Family Matters: Bring Home The Hygge (a Scandinavian word for “comfort” or “coziness”), we have been reflecting on family matters during the holiday season. Our goal is to take you on a road trip home to family this Christmas. The message for each Sunday is about a different stage of that journey home. So far, we’ve considered how to prepare emotionally and spiritually for family gatherings at Christmastime and especially how to forgive loved ones who have hurt us. You can catch up on past messages by listening to them on our website.
This week, we turn our attention to the next leg of the journey home for Christmas. In the gospel reading, John has come to announce the coming of one mightier than he, a Messiah who will separate the wheat from the chaff and baptize with fire and the Spirit. In response to the hope of a coming savior who will come to dwell with his people, the crowds, “filled with expectation,” ask John what they should do. Having already repented of their sins and received the bath of forgiveness, John tells them to share their abundance with those less fortunate. “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise,” he says.
In the same way, there is no better time than the holidays for families to consider sharing their gifts and blessings with those in need. Indeed, the family is like a “domestic church” with a mission to foster a communion of life and love through prayer and through discipleship in order to evangelize the world. Love within the family should spill over its borders and radiate out to the whole world. The fundamental mission of the family is to be a visible sign of God’s love for humanity. The family therefore should not only be turned inwards but also open to the rest of the world. As far back as the fourth century, the early Church Father, Saint John Chrysostom, exhorted parents not only to make their homes into a little church where faith grows among family members, but also to show openness to strangers and the poor, and welcome and hospitality to others. As Saint Paul admonishes in the second reading, “your kindness should be known to all.”
Healing comes from service. Bring home the hygge this Christmas by encouraging your family to engage in an act of service for others together.
Listen live or online to our Sunday message this weekend for inspiration and practical advice on how to do something simple for the poor this Christmas season, not only for their benefit but also to bring your family closer by bringing home the hygge of the intimacy and warmth that comes from serving the world together.
--Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson