2. Mary and Joseph Knew they would have to let go.
I wonder if knowing the destiny of Jesus (at least vaugly) effected the way that Mary and Joseph went about parenting? In a very real way they were forced to come to terms with letting him go. Letting go can be one of the hardest parts about parenting.
I see parents who are clinging to their children and holding on too tight. Sometimes this comes from a natural desire to protect their children from harm (there are other reasons). No one wants to see their children hurt and or know that their child could be in danger. Yet, some parents take this to an extreme by hampering their children from being able to spread their own wings. Sometimes we grow so accustomed to making decisions for our children, that we forget the goal of parenting is to train our children to make their own decisions.
Just like an archer has to let go of the arrow before it sails into the air and finds its mark, Parents are called on to release their children. I think this happened in a very real way for Mary and Joseph. They knew their was something special about Jesus from the start. How do you raise the savior?
How would we parent differently if we knew the destiny of our children? What if God called them to the heart of darkness a world away? Would we be prepared to send them? Guide them? even direct them? My prayer is that he does call them there and that we are willing to let go and even send them.
To be honest each day I function on the edge of insanity. Every time the road is wet and my wife and kids are in a car somewhere without me, I keep the phone close, praying that they are ok. I could easily become compulsive about the safety of my children. “No” could easily become the most dominant word in my vocabulary for no other reason than that “No” is safe. But the joy of parenting isn’t found purely in seeking safety but in the risk of providing direction and letting go.