I love Christmas and the Advent season. So many traditions, and wonder surrounds us. My family and I look at lights, move that sneaky elf, light advent candles, visit Santa, watch Christmas movies, decorate the home, make and enjoy certain foods, and many more amazing things. I love it all.
At the center of it all is family! Families get together and do so much! From the high of giving and receiving gifts, to maybe the low of mourning the loss of family members/remembering them. While at church and home, speaking about the story of Jesus’ birth, we hear about Mary and Joseph. Now much is said and written about Mary, and should be! Her obedience, faith, and love are great!
But this is a Dad Blog! What about my man Joe? Where is Joe in the Bible? He obviously shows great character and faith by trusting God and staying with Mary. I have heard sermons on this decision of Joseph to stay and be obedient, which we can all learn from. I want to write about the unseen, and make some assumptions about him as a Dad.
The facts we know from the Bible of Joe as a Dad are small. We do know that Joe is not perfect. We see him lose his son on a visit to Jerusalem. I mean, what Dad hasn’t turned around and thought “Where is my kid?!” I have, so if you haven’t feel better about yourself. Or, if you have, then take a deep breath and let the shame go. The only other real fact we know is that Joseph taught him to be a carpenter and follow the Jewish faith. We all need an elder to teach us, guide us, and encourage us. Jesus, I believe, would have had that in his family.
I think Joseph would have taught the skill of work, and as he did, would have had conversations about anything and everything. As I imagine what these might be and how they would have gone, I realize that this is an example I must learn from today. How can we be encouraged?
1. Talk with your kids every chance you get. One thing we have mentioned on Dadliness before is how distracted I can be and we are better dads when we can eliminate those while with our kids. Culturally this would have been much easier in some ways because of the time Jesus and Joseph would have had together as he passed on the profession of carpentry. But you can find so many chances and opportunities to talk and engage your kids. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 reminds us to do this). Look for the reoccurring opportunities like bedtime, driving, dinner, play, etc. Once you find them, just talk, ask questions, and listen.
2. Plan conversations around activities. When you are working on something at home, ask them to come along and help. Then plan a topic you want to come up while they are working or taking a break. Plan a question around something you have been seeing or noticing with them, or around something that might need to be addressed because of their age. It doesn’t have to be a manual labor thing. It could be shooting hoops, playing catch, playing a card or board game, enjoying a coffee/hot chocolate. But use activities to foster conversations around things that you see need to be addressed.
3. Think of things you want your child to know before they leave your home. Make a list. It could be traits, skills, traditions, etc. Braxton Brady wrote a book that I have read and gone through with Dads and sons. The book is called Flight Plan: Your Mission to Become a Man and is a great resource. The book also includes some things you want the kids to learn before they leave home, like tie a tie or do laundry. If you are having trouble thinking of things you want to pass on, then this book might be a great resource for you.
Joseph passed down the skill of carpentry and much more. God is using you too!