The family: the first and last refuge 

On the eve of the Feast of the Holy Family, it remains for us to contemplate Jesus, Mary and Joseph, so that we may learn to return always and every time to the family.

Luis Gaspar-December 26, 2021-Reading time: 2 minutes
family christmas

The end of the year is usually a time to reflect on what we did and did not do during the last twelve months. It is also a time for celebration. The arrival of Jesus at Christmas makes us all a little bit children again and we renew our illusion in the expectation of the Savior. And to make it clear that Jesus came into the world by the hand of a father and a mother, at Christmas time we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family, because without Mary and Joseph it is impossible to imagine the manger.

It is the Holy Family that also reminds us of that divine halo of families, that permanent reminder that parents, yours and mine, are close collaborators of creation.

The family is undoubtedly the first and last refuge, which is why it is also the object of the materialistic offensive that seeks to dehumanize it and turn children into mere products, and parents into mere reproducers. 

St. John Paul II warned in 2004: "The attempt to reduce the family to a private affective experience, socially irrelevant, to confuse individual rights with those proper to the family nucleus constituted by the bond of marriage, to equate cohabitation with marital unions, is one of the many attacks that seek to alter the structure of society". He then emphasized that "the attacks on marriage and the family are becoming stronger and more radical, both in their ideological version and on the normative front". 

In the midst of this constant onslaught, the family continues to stand firm, clinging together. It is that unity that will keep it going. 

Mariángeles Castro Sánchez, from the Institute of Family Sciences of the Austral University of Argentina, describes it as follows: "the ideal of unity in the family demands that we overcome the tendency of disengagement that today challenges us as a society, in the understanding that we will not be able to grow without a principle of unity that implies the integration and consolidation of a common life project". 

The question then arises: Is the family really that important? And the answer comes from José Pons, Counselor of the Spanish Association of Large Families: "There is no doubt that the family is the school of solidarity, responsibility, creativity and innovation. What is not learned in the family can hardly be learned at school, at university or at work. In the family we learn to share, to resist, to value. The family is more than ever the first cell, the first school and the basis of society. If the family fabric is weakened, society is irremediably weakened".

On the eve of the Feast of the Holy Family we are left to contemplate Jesus, Mary and Joseph, persecuted and threatened by a king who wanted to do away with them, who wanted to kill the child. With other protagonists, this persecution is still going on more than two thousand years later. The key is to "always and always return to the family. In the certainty that being part of this fundamental and primary unit will allow us to face challenges, resist storms and, why not, survive shipwreck" (Mariángeles Castro Sánchez). 

The authorLuis Gaspar

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