Today, 26 July, is the feast day of Anna and Joachim, the maternal grandparents of Jesus. This gives us a great opportunity to savour the significance of grandparents in the life of a child.

This week I had a conversation with  someone who was considering a memorial to a grandparent who was a particularly significant influence on their growing faith.

I was fortunate in my growing up years to never live more than an hour from my four grandparents. They were, each of the four of them, very unique people, and I can easily think of many things I learnt from each of them.

This week I had a conversation with a friend who was considering a memorial to a grandparent who was a particularly significant influence on their growing faith

I remember watching with fascination the difference in my own parents when they themselves became grandparents. It was almost as if my three siblings and I had been their trial-run for this new and important role, a grand role they now had the time to savour, enjoying the hours and sometimes days they could spend with their grandchildren.

Grandparents seem to understand the importance of wasting time with children.

Today many grandparents live a great distance from their grandchildren, but thanks to modern technology (email and Skype) it is possible to have regular contact, although technology can never replace real presence.

Grandparents have a role that is rarely acknowledged in the passing on of faith. Increasingly Christian parents do not have the same knowledge of Christian faith as earlier generations and as a result they struggle even to teach their children to speak with Jesus in an intimate and tangible way.

Many of today’s parents are unable to provide a knowledge of the gospels and the beauty of faith for their children. This is not helped by the fact that many Godparents are chosen for reasons of friendship instead of as Christian role-models. This gives a great opportunity for grandparents to share the role of providing their grandchildren with personal, practical and positive experiences of faith.  Giving attractive books of Bible stories as birthday or Christmas gifts can be a great way to start, then when you visit, read these stories to and with the children. They will ask questions and this gives a great opportunity for you to share your own experience of faith with them. Tell them about how, when and why you pray.

Thanks be to God for grandparents. You might like to share this post with grandparents who will appreciate some encouragement on this their feast day.

3 Responses to "grandparents"
  1. Thank you so much for this reflection John it has come at a time when I am wondering how I can show my grandchildren what their baptism meant and who Jesus is …

  2. A gift that comes from life experience well digested, is wisdom, and it is the wisdom of grandparents that complements the responsibility of parents. Both roles are held in love and both are important.. I sometimes wonder if Joachim was disappointed that Anna had a daughter. Or did they both intuitively know that this girl child would be mother of the Word made flesh

  3. All so true.Grandparent story very relevant to us at present as we have a grandchild thinking about coming to ChCh for his final year at school. It is wonderful that he would consider such a proposition.

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