Joseph was a carpenter who lived in Nazareth. He was a very devout and righteous man who always obeyed God’s laws.
Although Joseph was not wealthy, he did come from a very important and well-known family. One of his ancestors was King David, the shepherd boy whom God chose to become the ruler of the Israelites during Old Testament times.
Joseph was betrothed to a virgin named Mary. “Betrothed” means that Joseph and Mary were married, but they were not yet living together as husband and wife in the same house.
One day, Joseph learned that Mary was going to have a baby. Joseph decided that, according to the law, he should not remain married to her. Since he was such a good man, Joseph did not want to bring any shame or harm to Mary, so he decided he would not make a big fuss about divorcing her.
What Joseph did not realize was that Mary had been visited by the angel Gabriel, who told her that the Holy Spirit would come upon her.
“You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus,” Gabriel told Mary. “He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Not long after he had decided to divorce Mary, Joseph had a dream. An angel of God spoke to him.
“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home,” the angel said. “For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
What the angel said to Joseph fulfilled an Old Testament prophesy that God had revealed to his people through one of his prophets: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel.” Emmanuel means “God is with us.”
When Joseph woke up, he did exactly as the angel had told him to do. Instead of divorcing Mary, he took her into his home and waited for Jesus to be born.
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1. What famous person was Joseph related to?
2. To whom was Joseph betrothed?
Why did Joseph and Mary present the baby Jesus at the Temple? (Hint: Luke 2:22-24)
Answer: To consecrate him to God.
There were several times when God used dreams to speak to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Three of those dreams were meant to help protect the newborn Messiah from harm.
Just before Jesus was born, Joseph took Mary to his family’s home city, Bethlehem, the city of David, to be counted in a census. Mary gave birth to Jesus there, and the new parents were visited by Magi who had followed a star to where Jesus had been born.
Not long after the Magi left, Joseph had a dream. An angel warned him that King Herod wanted to kill Jesus and told him to flee to Egypt with Mary and the baby. After the Holy Family left for Egypt in the night, Herod ordered all male children up to 2 years old who lived in or around Bethlehem to be killed.
After Herod died, Joseph had another dream in which an angel said, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”
Joseph did so. But in another dream, he was warned not to return to Judea, because it might not be safe. Instead, Joseph brought his family to Galilee to live in Nazareth.
St. Andre Bessette was born in Canada in 1845. He lived and worked in the U.S. for three years, returning to Canada in 1870.
After he came home, he joined the Congregation of Holy Cross and lived in a community near Montreal. He served in many different roles, including as a doorman, barber, gardener and janitor. He also founded a very popular healing ministry.
In 1904, he moved into Montreal to help build the Oratory of the Holy Cross. He remained in Montreal until his death in 1937, and we honor him on Jan. 6.
Below are some events surrounding the early life of Jesus. Put them in the order in which they happened. Hint: Answers are in Luke 2, except C, which can be found in Matthew 2:10-11.
A. Joseph and Mary lose Jesus after a festival.
B. Jesus is born in Bethlehem.
C. The Magi visit Jesus and give him gifts.
D. Jesus is presented at the Temple.
E. Joseph and Mary name their baby Jesus.
Answers: A. 5; B. 1; C. 2; D. 4; E. 3