Leap of Faith: The family broigus

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Leap of Faith: The family broigus

Did Jacob have it worse than Charles?

Relations have soured between Princes William and Harry
Relations have soured between Princes William and Harry

I wonder if there was ever an awkward family meal after Jacob joined his sons in Egypt and was reunited with Joseph, who for so many years had been presumed dead – because 10 of his sons had told him so! There are so many dysfunctional relationships in Genesis, it can often feel comforting when our own family lives aren’t as picture perfect as we might want them to be!

This Christmas is likely to be a strange one for the Royal Family, as they gather without their matriarch. Not only will Queen Elizabeth be missing, but the family may be wrestling with the fallout of Harry and Meghan’s documentary, and their absence from the family table. But there will, apparently, also be additions to this year’s Royal gathering – Prince Andrew is reported to be joining, along with Sarah Ferguson. Having married in 1986, separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996, over the past few years they have been appearing together increasingly frequently. Add to this the scandals that have swirled around Andrew himself, and one wonders if Christmas will be an awkward time, or if they all enjoy ribbing one another about their woes before getting on with the seasonal festivities.

Plenty of seder tables have seen their share of family broigus and tension, so perhaps Jacob and sons avoided the high-tension family celebrations the rest of us, and presumably the Royals, endure from time to time today. But there must have been reasons for the Biblical family to gather. Did Jacob know the truth of the brothers’ deception? Did he confront his sons or try to get the truth from Joseph? Or was he so delighted that Joseph was back, he didn’t want to upset things by digging too deep into the dirt?

Regardless of what they had already put their family through, there does seem to be remorse among the brothers. Perhaps this allowed for forgiveness on Jacob’s part. Whatever it was that transpired (and we will probably know the detail of what goes on at the Royal Christmas celebrations this year as much as we do about the Biblical reunion) they found a way to be together again as a family.

This is a time of year for gathering, for bringing joy and light in the darkness. Many will have to find ways to deal with difficult family members, or find forgiveness after painful periods, but it would appear that this is the story of families throughout human history, so there’s hope that we too can find some festive warmth!


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