Luke 2: 36-40
There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband for seven years after her marriage, then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshipped there with fasting and prayer night and day. At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
The Return to Nazareth
When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.
Devotion by Julia Shiver
Anyone who has had the fortune to care for a child, parent or not, knows that it couldn’t have been that easy for Mary and Joseph. We know so little about the infancy and childhood of Jesus. And his parents knew by then that he was special (just like everyone else’s child). We don’t know that much about child-rearing in that time either. What did you do for teething pain? How in the world did you potty train? Who did you go to when he broke his arm or chipped his tooth, doing something you had expressly told him not to do? And don’t get me started on puberty and adolescence!
So we are left with only our imaginations, fueled by movies we have seen of the period, our knowledge of the region, of our own dimly remembered growing pains. Did Jesus ever forget to return a library book and tried to sneak it back into the library, thinking no one would notice it’s sudden return? Did he look wide-eyed and innocent as he told his mom that he had indeed brushed his teeth, all evidence to the contrary? How in the world do you parent the Son of God? How do you explain death when a beloved donkey dies? How do you teach compassion, and mercy, respect for authority, a good work ethic – to God?
I guess Mary and Joseph did what all people who care for children do – we love them into becoming the men and women God wants them to be. They are all children of God.
Dear God, You must have picked some good parents for Jesus. He turned out as well as anyone could have hoped or imagined. Help us to love all children in our care as if Jesus is standing before us. Amen.