Luke 2: 22-38: Anna & Simeon

Does anyone else think it’s strange that we never hear anything about Mary or Joseph’s parents or family members? I mean someone in Mary’s family had to arrange her betrothal to Joseph, right? We have legends about Mary’s mother, St Anne (which even extends to the Islamic tradition), but no relatives are ever mentioned in our stories. Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem because it was his family’s ancestral home and yet there wasn’t one relative within the city limits for them to stay with? And when the time came for them to do the presentation at the temple, there wasn’t one member of his extended family to share this happiest of occasions? Was Joseph an orphan? Could it be true that he didn’t have a single brother or sister, aunt, uncle or parent to his name?

One of the greatest gifts we get as part of the family of faith is just that – family. Brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents – people who will be there for us when our blood family can’t or won’t. People who support us, pray for us, intercede for us and bless us—and we may not even be aware they are doing it. We do not know why Mary and Joseph had to be so isolated in a city that should have been teaming with relatives, but in our passage today we see that God provided them with loving parental figures to support and encourage them at this critical time in their lives.

What about us? Who has God given us to act as brother or sister, aunt, uncle, parent and grandparent? Be sure to thank them (and God!) for that gift. But the bigger question during this Lenten season is who needs us to be ‘family’ to them? Find them, support and encourage them, because no one in the family of faith should feel like an orphan.