Not much is known about Joseph of Nazareth.
He doesn’t utter a word in canonical scripture. Only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke mention him as part of the Nativity story. The details included tell us he lived in Nazareth as a carpenter and received four visions instructing him in his marriage and family.
Joseph disappears from narrative after Christ’s “parents” find him teaching in the temple at age twelve.
It is assumed Joseph passed away by the time Jesus began his official ministry. Not only does he not make any appearance in scripture and is never mentioned in that time frame, but it is unlikely Christ would leave his mother to John’s care at the time of his Crucifixion had Joseph still been alive. According to Jewish custom, the father would have been in charge of handling Christ’s body after his death
During His ministry, Christ weeps in sorrow over Lazarus before He is raised from the tomb; the onlookers even comment on how He must have loved Lazarus dearly. It seems obvious Christ formed very real and very tender human relationships. On Christmas day, when many are thinking about loved ones near and far, we can learn a profound lesson from how the loss of Joseph may have impacted Christ and prepared Him for His mission.
Having lost both my father and step-father at a young age, I’ve often asked what lessons I could learn from such tragic experiences. One that stands out is the need to know who we are and whose we are. In many ways, God wants us to understand who are and whose we are. Without a father figure, I was able to to sense the great need for my Father in Heaven. In some ways, I think Christ has a similar experience.
Christ, on multiple occasions, testified of our Heavenly Father and made it clear He was doing the will of the Father who sent Him. In all things He pleased the Father. He knew from a tender age what His divine mission was.
At this Christmas season, it is a poignant reminder that Christ lost His earthly father who held Him in swaddling clothes. Joseph’s death undoubtedly gave Him an even clearer understanding of His divine relationship to God and the great desire and need we all have for a father. I can only imagine how this impacted His ministry to comfort, love, and heal.