Guest Author - T. Lynn Adams
Purpose: To help family members better understand and appreciate Joseph, the man selected by God to raise His son.
Materials needed: pictures of Joseph.
Preparation: Prayerfully study the lesson and make adaptations as needed. You will need paper and pencils for each person.
Attention Activity: Ask the children to bring their most cherished item to Family Home Evening. This can be a toy, a book, an article of clothing, or even a pet. Ask them why the item is special to them. Now ask them who they would want to take care of that item if they had to go away for a while. Find out why they would want that person. (Answers may include because they trust that person, they know that person would love and take care of it.)
Tell your children you feel that same way about them. When parents go to the temple or away for a while they ask people they trust to watch their children.
Tell them Heavenly Father asked Joseph, the carpenter, to watch after Jesus because He trusted Joseph.
Ask them to list some of the traits they think Joseph had in order to be trusted by Heavenly Father to raise His son. (Answers may include honesty, kindness, hard work ethic, righteousness, etc.)
Tell them that because of the scriptures, we do know some things about Joseph.
Ask someone to read Matt 1:19. This scripture tells us that Joseph was 'a just man' (Let them tell you what they think it means to be just. You may need to help them.)
Explain that this description is not used very often in the scriptures. Joseph's reputation for being just was so strong that Matthew had to write it down.
Joseph cared for Mary and Jesus.
Discuss with the children ways Joseph showed his love and concern for Mary and Jesus when:
1. "there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7) (Answers may include finding them another place to stay.)
2. Herod decided to kill the children. (Matt. 2:13-14) (Answers may include leaving behind friends and family to move away and protect them.)
3. Young Jesus stayed behind in the temple. (Luke 2:41-46) (Answers may include returning to Jerusalem to look for him.)
Joseph also did other things that showed he loved and cared for Jesus and Mary. He made sure Jesus received a formal education. (Point out that the scriptures tell us Christ 'increased in wisdom' Luke 2:52. The scriptures tell us Jesus knew how to read. Not everyone knew how to read back then. Often parents had to pay to send their child to school. Joseph made sure Jesus was able to go to school.)
Joseph also made sure his family lived the commandments. Every year he took his family to Jerusalem for the Passover (Luke 2:41). Also, when Jesus read the scriptures people were amazed at how well he read them. Reading scriptures was obviously something the Savior had learned to do while growing up.
Activity Pass out the paper and pencils. Ask your child to list ways that fathers today show they love and care about their family. Share and discuss their answers.
Have them turn over the paper and now list ways Heavenly Father shows he loves and cares about His children. Share and discuss their answers.
Bear testimony that earthly fathers and our Heavenly Father do many things to show that they love us.