The wait: Mary and Joseph
We all know the story of the Holy Family, appearing to us with all the tenderness of a humble family from Nazareth, whose events have illuminated human history.
Theirs is a story of obedience to the Life and Will of God, who manifested himself to the married couple demanding from them immense faith and great courage.
Mary, before giving birth to Jesus, was living together with Joseph in Nazareth. After the Angel’s announcement to the Virgin Mary of the conception of the son of God, Mary responded positively, without hesitation and anxious to fulfill the will of God.
Later, Joseph the Just also was to accept the same obedience, welcoming Mary despite her bearing in her womb a child who was not his own. And so it was that in this story of faith in which the Eternal chose to manifest himself in history, the Roman Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the entire Roman Empire.
As a result, Joseph and his wife, who was in an advanced stage of pregnancy, were obliged to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, the place of his ancestors, to register themselves. It was thus apparently only due to chance that Mary gave birth in Bethlehem. Unable to find more suitable accommodation, they stayed in a cave, similar to many others that were located in the surroundings of the town.
It was then that, as the Evangelists narrate: “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:6-7). In this waiting, and in the image of the Holy Family, we have depicted before us a scene from daily life that makes us reflect on the maternal figure of Mary, the “best of mothers” (as Pope Pius IX said), and the fatherhood of Joseph, the best of earthly fathers.
It is indeed important for us as Christians to keep the Holy Family in mind as a model and example of the human family for all time.