This year the third day of Christmas in the amazing world of Catholicism falls on a day celebrated as the Feast of the Holy Family. Again this year I pay tribute to Sr Wendy Beckett who died on Boxing day 2018 with her reflection on Janet McKenzie's The Holy Family.
The history of the Feast can be traced back to Canada in the 17th Century. Since that time various "Confraternities of the Holy Family" have been founded and you will even find a slightly off beat version available via Facebook In his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt writes of his experience in the Confraternity in Limerick, Ireland as a schoolboy.
The Feast eventually made into into the Liturgical Calendar listed for the Sunday in the Octave of the Epiphany. In 1969 just after the release of Humanae Vitae it was moved to the Sunday within the Octave of Christmas.
Long before the feast was added to the liturgical calendar images of the Holy Family were a popular theme of European art history More recently in 2012 he US Postal Services issued a Holy Family stamp.
As a single gay man with no children of my own I belong to those who are usually overlooked in the preaching of today's celebration. So here are a couple of challenging readings I discovered that make this day inclusive and joyful for those who cannot 'fit into" the image of the traditional "Holy Family":