The 12 days of Christmas – The Holy Family

December 30 marks the feast day of the Holy Family. Prior to Vatican II this feast day was actually moveable and didn’t always fall within the 8 days following Christmas, but before the new year. However, devotion to the Holy Family can reliably be dated to the 13th century, when it becomes a common image expressed in art going forward, and it became very established and widespread by the 17th century, but in mostly cases it’s feast day was chosen on a local level. While I believe the feast may have occurred during Christmastide (in that sense that Christmastide actually lasts until the begin of Lent) in the early 20th century the Feast of the Holy Family would happen after Epiphany (january 6) but before January 13, usually on a Sunday. After Vatican II it was changed and made official to be on December 30 and thus partaking in the 12 days of Christmas.
One method of invoking the aid of the Holy Family that is popular is writing ✝ J.M.J. ✝ on anything, Cards, letters, documents, personal notes, as a means of calling upon the intercession of the holy family. In case you can’t tell, it’s two crosses before and after the first initials of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus or Jesus Mary and Joseph.
My first introduction to the Holy Family was as a concept of praying for the intercession in family issues, especially between parents when there are children involved. For peace in the home and having a harmonious relationship between parents and children, prayers made to the holy family to achieve this goal, perhaps supported with peace, house blessing, and peace water sprinkled around.

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