The Church has placed a number of notable feast days immediately after Christmas. The feasts of Stephen, John the Evangelist, and the Holy Innocents form a summary of the life lived in Christ, the Word made flesh. What do these have to do with the feast of the Holy Family, which crowns the Octave of Christmas? These feasts remind us that suffering will occur in fulfilling the mission of Christ, and that we are all called to be bearers of this Word whose birth we celebrate. We also see this manifested in the lives of Joseph and Mary, both of whom took social and religious risks in obedience to the will of God, and both of whom were open to the word of God sent to them from on high. In these ways they prefigured the life of Jesus himself. Most likely, few of us found ourselves at Mass this past Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, but the essence of these feasts and the essence of the holiness of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus remain central, a holiness we celebrate today.