Mission Begins At Home: Holiday Letter from Jesus' Grandparents

We've been talking quite a bit this past year about how the "ground zero" for mission is the family. If we don't experience God's love there, it is increasingly difficult to be aware of it later on.  Below is story that was preached today at St. John's by the pastor, Fr. Mike, where we have our San Lorenzo Mission House.  In addition to being an entertaining story, it underscores that the primary missionaries in the story of God becoming one of us are parents and grandparents.  And, a great reminder to all of us, that our missionary efforts begin at home, even in the messiness of our sometimes dysfunctional and not so normal families.

The annual family "Holiday" letter from Joachim and Anna:

Dear friends and family. This will be late, as usual, and again we apologize for this impersonal way of summing up the year for you. The big news is that Mary is expecting. It was a surprise to everyone, even poor Joseph. She is due in December, the worst possible time because of the census. She and Joseph will need to travel to his birth city to register. He has a sturdy donkey, so that is one consolation, because the trip is long and hilly. Mary was recently there to visit my sister Elizabeth, whose baby, another big surprise to everyone, is a strong boy with a big voice, so they say.
Joachim retired last year, so has been around the house a lot, an adjustment for both of us. He is looking forward to being a grandfather, even under the circumstances. He has told the neighbors to cut the gossip, that every life is a gift and that we are glad for this child, whoever he is and will be. Many people say it is a bad time to have children at all. The Roman occupation hasn’t’ been easy and Herod is so unpredictable. We had to tone back Hanukkah this year because the rabbi said it made the Romans nervous, and when they get nervous it means trouble for us. We are little people in a small village in the hill country, in a backwater of the world, they say, so what have we done to expect any attention? Life goes on. 
Joseph is a good man, very quiet and a bit of dreamer, but he has decided to go through with the betrothal. There is some special communication between him and Mary, who has said very little to us, but seems happy and that is all that matters. That is our wish for everyone. Shalom, and stop by if you get up this way.