Giving thanks for the gift of family life

I need counselling because my OCD is trying to recover from a tsunami which has devastated my house. The cause of this destruction is none other than my nephew.

I need counselling because my OCD is trying to recover from a tsunami which has devastated my house. The cause of this destruction is none other than my nephew.

Caught up in the Christmas spirit I invited the family to the parochial house this year. A few weeks ago it seemed like a great idea. In my sleep deprived state I’m not so sure. Christmas Day lived up to its billing after all the excitement of waiting. Fr Canny would be very proud of me this year because not only did I wait until after Mass I also waited until after we went visiting, before I opened my Christmas presents. As I unwrapped my gifts I have to confess what I was given seemed to be a fair representation of my life. The presents covered my main areas of interest - football, food and drink, football, aftershave and clothes, football, music, football, religion and for good measure, football. However, I was jealous of my nephew because he got football nets and I didn’t.

Currently the goal posts are sitting in my hallway blocking all access to the parochial house. As Christmas entered Saint Stephen’s Day I found myself lying on the sofa. I had to make the ultimate sacrifice and give up my bedroom for my nephew and my brother-in-law. My sister was on night shift in the hospital so feeling sorry for her and her family I offered my room. I didn’t have a great night’s sleep on the sofa because the dog, who was on the other sofa, spent the night snoring and coughing. If this wasn’t bad enough I was worried and fretting in case my nephew had an accident in my bed. So in the morning I was only too glad when my nephew burst into the room demanding to watch half a morning of cartoons. However this paled into insignificance when I was made to play football with him and his new nets. I didn’t mind him wanting to be Liverpool; I even nearly let him score in the goals. But I’m glad I didn’t, because my nephew stabbed me in the heart demanding I be Man United! It’s very appropriate that we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family in the wake Christmas. This is often the one time of the year when families are reunited as relatives return home from all parts of the world. As we reflect on the birth of Christ, as we try to appreciate the demands and sacrifices made by Mary and Joseph, we bring before God our own families. This week is a very precious time as we celebrate the great love of God who desires to gather and save all his people. When the Son of God entered this world all humanity, all men and women become caught up in the drama of God’s saving love. God holds nothing back; he makes the ultimate sacrifice in sending his son into the world to share in our human nature with its joys and sorrows. With the Holy family as our model and inspiration we give thanks for the gift of our family life. If there is tension or divisions we pray for the necessary healing and peace so we can forget the past and welcome home those who have been outcast.