Luke 2:39-40 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.
In parenting there is always the interaction of nature – genetics, essentially – and nurture, the environment in which the child grows. Genetics are settled from the moment of conception, so the input we have in the process is in nurturing the child. Many books have been written on the subject, so I won’t try to write another one! However, the whole subject becomes very interesting when it comes to Jesus. Just precisely what was His genetic package, so to speak? The Y chromosome was courtesy of the Holy Spirit, who normally is not physical at all! That’s not anything we can determine, but we do know that God chose Mary and Joseph very carefully. He really cared how His Son was going to be nurtured! We have very few details in the Bible, but the characteristics that stand out are their faith and their faithfulness. They “dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s” when it came to the Levitical law, and they did whatever was necessary according to their circumstances, including the trip to Egypt and back recorded in Matthew 2. The result of their lifestyle is recorded here. Physical growth, barring major disease, deprivation, or injury, is a given, but Jesus had a little extra help there. Growing up as the son of a carpenter, he was doubtless running errands and carrying wood and the like from about as soon as he could walk. The “strong” mentioned here was not just being polite! However, being filled with wisdom had a lot to do with Mary and Joseph. Children are taught by their parents, but they absorb more than they are taught. Jesus was filled with wisdom because He had the example of parents who were wise in the fear of the Lord. We have no way of knowing how much or how often they thought about the special circumstances of Jesus’ birth, but I would guess that as the home filled up with more children it wasn’t very much. I don’t think they were all, “We are raising the Son of God” all the time by any means! We should be intentional in raising our children, certainly, but the unintentional lessons are at least as important, as they see how we relate to each other and how we prioritize our time and our resources. That is where they gain wisdom, as opposed to simple knowledge.
I was raised by excellent parents, but I certainly didn’t turn out as well as Jesus! How well I did with my own daughters isn’t mine to judge, but I’m quite proud of them, not as my accomplishment but because of their accomplishments. I touch on parenting every time I do premarital counseling, and I have taught a parenting seminar, but I would actually like to do a lot more. I feel, and I want to communicate, that the key to parenting is a good marital relationship between the parents. I tell people that only two things are essential for a child, other than basic physical needs: assurance that they are loved by their parents, and assurance that their parents love each other. It’s amazing, and tragic, how often those get confused or even overlooked. As the Lord gives me opportunity, I want to counter the lies of the devil so that more children may be raised as Jesus was.
Father, thank You for the beautiful heritage You have given me, and for the privilege of passing it on to my children. I pray that I would be more and more effective in passing it on to my spiritual children, since my physical children are raising their own families. May I be fully useful to You in destroying the works of the devil, (1 John 3:8) for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!