Joseph's story of faith and obedience does not end in Egypt. Again, God appeared to Joseph in a dream (Matthew 2:19-23) revealing to him the proper time to take Mary and Jesus back to Israel. Joseph immediately returned. But on the way, he learned the new king Archelaus was a violent man. This news certainly must have troubled him. Once more, God spoke to Joseph in a dream, guiding him to Galilee where the family could settle in Nazareth. This fulfilled a prophecy concerning the Messiah, and Joseph again obeyed.

We do not know how long Joseph lived as Jesus' earthly father. He is last mentioned in scripture when Jesus was twelve years old. But Joseph trained his son in the trade of carpentry and made sure he had spiritual training in Nazareth. He also took the whole family on the yearly trip to Jerusalem for the Passover, which Jesus continued to observe during his adult years.

While we only get a few glimpses of him, scripture reveals to us that Joseph was faithful to God. Could it be that this is the key to successful parenting? To model a life of consistent faithfulness and obedience to God? Obedience to the guidance we receive from God leads to more guidance from Him. Social position or previous experience is of little importance when God chooses to use you. Parenting with integrity and walking in humbleness with our God are the most important "qualifications" we can have throughout all of the parenting stages.

This Christmas may the life of Joseph inspire and encourage you. God still longs to reveal Himself. He still desires to give parents guidance. He still wants us to grow in dependence and trust in Him. There is nothing to fear when we walk with Him. 

This article originally posted in December 2008.

Sharon Beth Brani lives in Culpeper, VA..Her greatest treasures are her Lord and her two adopted daughters. She is a licensed professional counselor and a specialized adoption coach working with adoptive families. She helps the adoptive parent and their children to maximize the adoption process and to enjoy a lifetime of committed love and growth in a healthful family situation. Her website is She can be reached at