Usually when you read or think about Luke 2 and Matthew 2, you read the Christmas story and stop before you get to the end of the chapter. This week, I really enjoyed focusing more on those last verses of the chapters this time.
In the last dozen scriptures of Luke 2, we actually have a deeper peek into the family culture that Mary and Joseph cultivated in their home than what originally seems. As a young mom in the beginning stages of motherhood, this idea of fostering certain values into our family dynamic has been on my mind a lot.
As I establish patterns, routines, and traditions for our household, especially ones that will teach my children to walk uprightly before the Lord, I desire to help them have a deeper connection with God, relationship their Redeemer, and with the Holy Ghost.
For Jesus as a child, His greatest influences were His mother, father, and God. I felt the depth of the responsibility the moment after Hazel, my oldest, was born. It can feel overwhelming, but knowing that I hold influence and power beside my loving, hard-working spouse as well as even more loving and hard-working Heavenly Parents gives me the confidence that as a team, we can raise these children the way towards peace and eternal happiness.
We as parents have the opportunity to co-create who our child will be with the Divine.
So what are is this family culture we find in the scriptures?
- They were a family of growth, progression, and increase (Luke 2:40,52)
- Jesus’ parents empowered Jesus to progress slowly, drip by drip (Luke 2:40)
- They continued the holy traditions that were important to them year after year (Luke 2:39,41)
- They established a culture of learning from each other – parent and child (Luke
- Mary & Joseph were a safe place to ask questions and seek understanding (Luke 2:46-49)
- They valued being well-rounded and balanced in all aspects of life (Luke 2:52)
And there is so much more in this group of scriptures to find!
You know these values were instilled in their children young. Jesus was only 12 and He already knew that His parents wished for Him to be about His Father’s business.
This is the kind of home I want to build. Remembering, of course, that in a family culture of growth and progression, it is not meant to look or be perfect at any point really. If our children (or myself) are not there yet, it is important to not get disappointed since progression is a process that waxes stronger bit by bit.
So what patterns and strategies can I begin now while my children are 2 and 4 that will build a home I want them to be raised in. It’s a hard question to answer, especially since each home/individual/family is different so we require different answers. Which is exactly why being strong in the spirit and relying on the wisdom and grace of God is so important.
I do love how it is said twice in Luke 2 — one in verse 19, the other in 51 — how Mary pondered and kept certain things in her heart. Mary’s response of sitting back, pondering, and keeping things to herself for a minute is the type of mother I want to be. What an important lesson to remember, since usually our first thought is to react (in fear, anger, confusion, disicipline). It is natural to find value in our children’s behavior and have an urgency to control what is happening. But, like Mary, I see the importance of keeping and pondering things in my heart and allowing the Spirit time to correct and influence me to engage with the situation a certain way.
As I create my own family culture, I know I have some great advice right here in the Bible to start with, and can only hope that my children know how much I love and aspire them to increase in favor with God and men.