I hope this letter finds you doing well. In your last letter, you asked me to describe more about Jesus to you. I’ll do my best:
As you know, I am his father, at least in name. His existence has literally nothing to do with me. He would have been here, one way or the other. I know that. Really, I’m just lucky, blessed that I get to be where I am.
The angel told me what happened, and part of what would be. I knew then my part in His life was an honor and privilege.
Some people frown at me, particularly some of the high and mighty people around here. They look down their noses at Mary and I and sometimes say cruel things. We just keep going.
I want to react, to fight back and tell them how the camel eats the grapevine. Instead, Mary quietly reminds me to relish today. After all, the end is the prize, not the present.
Honestly though, sometimes I second guess myself. I don’t say a lot. There’s no need, but I always believe, even when I do question my memory and experience. During those times, something always happens, or is said, or I learn something new, and it strengthens my faith even more.
It’s my job as a father to pass on my carpenter trade. Jesus started watching me work early on. He picked up tools and imitated me. I hope He picks up my good habits, overlooks the bad ones.
I’m supposed to teach, guide and raise Jesus, but it never feels right. I know who He was, is, and shall be, but I also know who, and what, I am.
How do you father the Father’s son? How do you raise One who is part of who you pray to? How do you teach Him whose word never fails? How do you protect the Giver of all life?
Ever since the angel appeared, I’ve felt God’s hand and blessing on us. In so many ways, Jesus is easy to raise, especially compared to His younger brothers. Even when He was a baby and cried all night long from colic, there was always a peace.
It sounds weird, but sometimes, I just sit and watch Jesus. Then I look at His younger brother. I question God about which one is my first born? That sounds so wrong, but Jesus is God Almighty’s son. It overwhelms me. I can never measure up and do this, not by myself. Yet every time, a spirit of adoption comes over me. I know He’s my son, but His Father is God almighty.
As Jesus’ earthly adopted father, my heart knows God the Father in ways no other man will ever experience. God gives me just enough strength, just enough direction to father His Son for that moment.
Mary has similar experiences. We’ve talked about it. But we can’t go around telling everyone, so we just talk to each other. We don’t hide anything. We don’t deny it. We just do what we feel we’re supposed to do with Jesus right then. But sometimes, we don’t really know.
Like, should we tell Him to be quiet when He talks late at night? The Scriptures say the Messiah is perfect, and as a child, He has been. So if He’s talking and we want Him to go to sleep because we have to get up early the next morning, are we wrong for telling Him to be quiet?
As my apprentice, I’m teaching Jesus how to build. I tell Him over and over to “measure twice, cut once”. Somehow that seems like a waste of time for Jesus to measure the second time, maybe even the first.
He has a good sense of humor, and He teases a lot too! He delights in moving my hammer from one side to the other. I’ll put my hammer on the work bench, but when I reach for it, Jesus has moved it to the other side when I wasn’t looking. Now it’s our game. When I realize He’s done it, I don’t say anything. I just cut my eyes at Him and He bursts out laughing while handing the hammer back!
Jesus loves to play with the neighbor’s dog. He belly laughs at its antics, and He’s taught it all kinds of tricks. It’s like He speaks its language at times. The dog has lived longer than any dog I ever heard of, and the neighbors say it’s because the dog wants to keep Jesus company.
When we’re working, Jesus is always attentive. He anticipates our work, like He knows what I’m going to do before I do it. I want to tell people, to brag about how fast a learner Jesus is and tell them how good of a carpenter He’s becoming.
He’s only eleven years old right now, but I’ve started asking Him about ideas He has for what we’re building. He has great ideas! Every single time, it makes the building stronger, or He’ll have a short cut idea that saves us time. It’s always better!
I know a day is coming when Jesus grows up that He’ll have to leave carpentry behind. He has other things He’s supposed to do. He’s never resisted or complained about the work. He willingly accepts it no matter how hard the job is.
Sometimes, I feel so unworthy. I try to take care of Him, but I feel like I should confess my wrongs and shortcomings to Him. One day I hit my thumb and said something I shouldn’t have. Jesus looked at me with painful sadness in His eyes. Just looking at Him broke my heart, but then His face shined such compassion toward me. I felt so broken and ashamed, yet, so free and whole.
Sometimes I want to run to Him, hug Him and tell Him I love Him. I want to tell Him how proud I am He’s my son. I want to tell Him I believe in Him and think He can change the world.
On the other hand, it feels like we’re backwards. Like I should run to Jesus and fall prostate before Him while raising my hands to the sky. Like I should bow down and worship Him, Jesus, the one I call my son.
Sometimes we talk for hours while working. I find myself asking so many questions. I’ve gained wisdom, knowledge and understanding from talking to the living God inside Him.
Some things I don’t get though. Like one day when we were working and I had these intense pains. I told Jesus to hold a timber still and level while I hammered in several iron spikes to hold two support beams together. With each blow of my hammer, my body winced in pain. I don’t why, but it was horribly painful!
Jesus was quiet. He held the timber perfectly still without moving a muscle. He stared, concentrating on each blow of my hammer as it struck the spikes. I told Him it was hurting me and asked if He felt it too. He slowly shook His head yes, like He completely knew, and totally understood something I didn’t.
So many unexplained things I can’t begin to describe, but I know the source. The angel was right. I know. I’m sure. I believe.
God, the Creator of the universe, the same Who laid the foundations of the world doesn’t need me to teach Jesus, for He was there from the beginning. He chose me, but I need Him.
Soon Jesus will turn twelve years old. With our people’s customs, the age is a right of passage to manhood.
I know it’s coming. One day Jesus will do what He was sent here to do. I also know in my heart I won’t be in the picture when the time comes. That’s OK. I’m fine with it. So today, I simply work, talk with, and enjoy Jesus’ company.
Mary, Jesus, James, Joses and Jude all say hi.
With love, your son,