View from the Pew by Norman Cresswell

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From Through the Year with the Catholic Faith by Norman Cresswell. Published by Fount.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like being Jesus' grandparents? Would Joachim and Anne have fussed and bounced him on their knees? Would he have heard his first stories from them? Would they have taken the toddler, so special a child, on walks about the busy streets of Nazareth? Or would he have been taken to stay with them, wherever it was they lived?

Questions, questions, questions – to which we will never have the answers. There's legend, of course, in plenty, but fairy stories are not what Catholics want. Pop in a fantasy or two – as some say the Magi were – and you destroy the whole fabric of truth.

There was a move, as you'd expect, to link Joachim with prophecy but it came to nothing and the Church was reluctant to permit any form of cult to arise around them. And rightly so, surely.

Let's be content that the child Jesus had the love of Joachim and Anne. Let's presume, too, that they would be aware of their daughter Mary's conception and espousal to Joseph. Let's be aware that, like us, they would have been just a little bewildered and in some awe.

One assumption we can all makes is that Jesus had grandparents. It was, remember, the Holy Family and the holiness of most families emanates from the influence of wise and loving grandparents.

For grandparents are the ones who collect miseries and heartaches. And, having gathered them, render them innocuous with a single kiss and a softly spoken whisper of encouragement. It's unbelievable that the child Jesus should not have had their shadows to shelter under.

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Sunday 25 July is the first World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly.

Click on the picture for more information.

'Grandparents collect miseries and heartaches and render them innocuous with a single kiss'