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The Holy family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph - 30 December 2018

Christian art has not served us very well in terms of picturing the Holy Family. From medieval times, Joseph is portrayed as being as least 80, Mary is very young with perfect white skin and, usually, Jesus has golden curls and a knowing smile.

Now I don't know about your family, but among my clan no one is a canonised saint, immaculately conceived or the son of God. Let's face it, the Holy Family is a tough act to follow!

We know only the barest facts about the Holy Family.

Joseph was 18 or 19 when his fiancé, Mary, who was 14 or 15, potentially caused great scandal in the neighbourhood by conceiving a child, by the power of God, before the wedding. They were a poor, devoutly Jewish family from Galilee. They were as olive-skinned as any Lebanese is today and they lived in a country harshly administered by the occupying Roman Army.

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