There’s always been a part of me that’s wondered exactly what it must have been like to raise Jesus as a child. We don’t have a lot of information on his childhood, or even his teens years for that matter.
Matt Moody, one of the writers here at LDSBlogs, discusses this in his post, “In His Father’s House: The Boyhood of Jesus.” One of my favorite lines from this piece can be read in the first paragraph.
“ it follows that early details of this precious Son were made private by His loving Father.”
A good parent certainly does strive to maintain a child’s privacy, and yet there must have been many who flocked to see the Savior of the world. What might their thoughts have been at the sight of a tiny baby, a sweet-faced toddler, or the innocent eyes of a child?
I can’t help thinking of Him as a baby. It must have been wonderful to hold Him, rock Him, and sing Him to sleep. Every time He cried I can imagine Mary or Joseph immediately catching Him up to soothe away every tear.
I wonder what it must have been like to try and teach Jesus in the ways of God. He might have been in communication with the Father from the beginning. We don’t know. Perhaps Mary and Joseph at times felt frustrated with their own mortal limitations. Perhaps at times they felt inadequate as parents.
Yet I’m sure whenever a knee was scraped, an elbow bruised, or feelings were hurt both His earthly parents were right there to offer comfort, give words of encouragement, and tried their best to make the hurt go away.
One of the things I like to think about most is what Mary and Joseph must have felt when the ordinary ‘mortal’ milestones happened. What was it like to hear Jesus say ‘Mother’ for the first time, or to watch as He took His first step. Joseph must have felt so pleased when Jesus began to work alongside him, learning every aspect of how to become a carpenter.
There must have been one particular moment, or perhaps a collection of little ones, when both Joseph and Mary realized their Son had surpassed what they could teach Him, especially in regards to the spiritual things. How old do you think Jesus was when that happened? I know there are times my own children amaze me with all they’ve come to know, and they’re still so young. Yet Jesus must have been years beyond where they are now. Perhaps at such a young age He even knew far more than I do now.
At only twelve-years old Jesus was already taking His role as the Son of God very seriously. In Luke 2:43-50 we read:
43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.
44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day’s journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.
45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him.
46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
It is a testament to how quickly Jesus had surpassed His earthly parents that they did not comprehend what He was trying to tell them. I am certain, however, He did His best to always obey them, to provide them with many assurances that they were doing a good job as parents.
I wanted to delve a bit into this wonderment to help us all remember something. Though we may be the mother and father of our own children, these precious little spirits are still the sons and daughters of God. When it comes to our children we can enjoy so many of the simple pleasures Mary and Joseph personally enjoyed with Jesus: reading out of the scriptures, enjoying play time, giving many hugs and kisses, rocking a little one to sleep, helping soothe the pains mortal life can impart, and teaching them in the ways of righteousness.
I hope you will think about that this Christmas Season as we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus. Take a moment and purposely treasure the children around you, for they are just as precious as that baby from so long ago.