This year the sixth day of Christmas in the amazing world of Catholicism falls on a day celebrated as the Feast of 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. Howver this year it is overwhelmed by the fact that Christmas Day and the 1st January both fall on a Sunday so it has been bumped to a mere weekday event.
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. There is also a new and exciting tradition of queering the image of the Holy Family to embrace the diversity of sexuality and spirituality that is evident in theinage I have used here from the collection of Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin.
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":