December 20 - Joseph
Herod the king was never pleased to hear about a rival and so it was important for Jesus and his family to get away. Joseph had been warned by an angel to escape to the country of Egypt, and so the three of them became refugees and lived in Egypt for a time. There they were safe and it must have been very tempting to stay there and make a new life, but again Joseph was told by an angel it was now safe to move back to Israel, the third angelic message he had received. Unlike Zechariah he did not seem to question angelic instructions.
And so the small family packed up everything and made the long journey from Egypt to the hill country around the Sea of Galilee. There they settled in the village of Nazareth, the village where Mary and Joseph from. Very little is recorded of Jesus childhood but, so far as we know he grew up in that same village surrounded by the same families. We do know that at least once he travelled to the city of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival that reminded people of their escape from slavery in Egypt, led by Moses.
Many of the characters in our stories so far have been asked by God to do things that were frightening and beyond what they thought they could do. The man entrusted to look after God’s son, Joseph had a job full of responsibility. No more so, than when they had to run to Egypt to protect Jesus from Herod’s army. It must have taken a great deal of trust and faith.
Geraldine McCaughrean’s book Father and Son, really helps us to think about how Joseph might have felt.
List all the feelings that Joseph might have had from the moment he became engaged to Mary to when they returned to Nazareth. Now tick/circle those that you have felt in one colour, and all those you are feeling in a different colour. Finally talk about some that you might feel with life events that are coming up in the next few weeks and months and tick/circle those in a third colour. Remind each other that God is with you and offers you peace and strength for all of those feelings.