Skip to content

Family stories

by davesandel on December 29th, 2019

Family stories

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Now Herod has died, and behold, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” So Joseph departed, not for Bethlehem but for Nazareth, in the region of Galilee.

– From Matthew 2

So Jesus will grow up in Nazareth, Joseph and Mary’s home town. Perhaps his parents would have returned to Jesus’ own birthplace, but in yet another dream God warned Joseph that Herod’s son now ruled in Judea, and he was as dangerous as his father.

Jesus does not see Bethlehem again. His infancy, his time as toddler, his early education all took place in the village of Nazareth. Not far from an important Roman road, his town would be visited by soldiers and officials. Joseph the carpenter (Greek texton, which means builder, craftsman, woodworker) would often build and repair Roman and Jewish homes, furniture and wagons. The Romans needed him when their royal carriages collapsed. And he must also have been required to build a cross now and then.

Jesus helped, of course. As time passed he and his father worked together all day, pausing for meals, pausing for an afternoon nap, pausing to pray. As he grew older and his mother taught him to read, Jesus studied the Scriptures.

Jesus became a 12-year old scholar who confounded and amazed the teachers in Jerusalem. His father knew him as both an engineer and artist, who took his responsibilities seriously most of the time. His mother watched him think, like she did, of the deep things. They were quiet while they kneaded dough for daily bread.

Today we are with our grandkids, who are ten, seven, three, and six months old, just like Jesus when he was growing up.  He was six months, he was three, he was seven and then ten. Out of the corner of my eye, I like to watch Jesus watching them …

*           *           *

I imagine that one of these days, when these four children are somehow living in a village on the Galilean road, they will hear the cry, “Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!” In spite of the roughness of his disciples, they decide to struggle through the crowd up beside the village well where Jesus is resting from his journey.

Jack carries Jasper, and Aly grabs Miles’ hand. They push through. And then there is Jesus, sweaty, dusty Jesus. They all sink down and sit on the ground beside him in the dust, their strong young backs warmed against the bricks.

The big people around them Familyresent the space they take up, but Jesus reminds them that “the kingdom of heaven belongs to such children as these” (Matthew 19). Just watch see the children’s chests swell up with pride.

Jack reaches his arm around those dusty knees. Jesus puts his hand on Jasper’s head in blessing. Aly, with Miles on her lap, reaches up and touches Jesus’ fingers. Her eyes are wide. They touch each other’s fingertips, and Miles laughs. He rubs his cheek against the robe. They are all in this together.

*           *           *

Dallas Willard reminds us that Jesus was the smartest person who ever lived. After his resurrection he told St. John, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21).

The carpenter has come a long way. But he is still a lover, still a friend, still a scholar, still an engineer and artist. Sometimes he is still a little boy who needs his mom, and Jesus’ mother Mary travels now beside him, from town to town, kneading bread and always praying for her precious son.

Touch us, Jesus, make us new. Bless us while we play. Keep us safe in the sleep you give us, and lead us in the way that lasts forever.



Print Friendly, PDF & Email
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: