Slideshow image

Last week, Rev Clare and I had an intriguing email exchange. First I wrote to them about bringing the “rosca de reyes” to church and explaining more about this Mexican tradition. Hidden within the bread was a small chocolate baby which represented the infant Jesus. Clare posed the idea of basing a spiritual practice on the “fostering of the Christ Child”. This idea became a focus of my spiritual curiousity this week. Much like our “time-travelling” Saint Brigid, I thought about how I might “foster the Christ Child”. 


My curiosity led me to think about Joseph, Mary’s husband and foster parent to Jesus. We read a little about Joseph in the gospels. He seems to me to be a man that listened to his dreams. In listening to his dreams, he went against tradition and the laws of Moses and stayed with Mary rather than having her stoned to death. He accepted her child as his own. He even went so far as to travel to Egypt in order to protect his foster son from King Herod’s slaughter of young boys in Israel. All because he listened to his dreams. 


Joseph clearly cared for Jesus because we are told that when Jesus is discovered to be missing after being presented at the Temple. Mary and Joseph are filled with anxiety as they search for him for three days. (Luke 2:48)


From the gospels, we hear skeptics doubt Jesus because of his foster father’s humble status. “Is this not the carpenter’s son? (Matthew 13:55) “Is this not the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22) Yet it would seem that Joseph nurtured Jesus in the faith of his ancestors. We observe Jesus being present at the Temple in Jerusalem a number of times over the course of his childhood. Joseph very likely taught Jesus carpentry skills working side by side with his young foster son ensuring that he would be able to support himself as an adult. 


I can’t begin to understand parenting or even fostering a child. I have no children. The nearest I’ve come to this experience is becoming a god parent to three adults: Casper, Florian and KC. Oh and I guess I’m a dog dad to Vito. However, as I ruminated on the idea of “fostering the Christ Child” I grew more and more fascinated by this spiritual practice. If I was a foster parent of the Christ Child, what would I do? Would I listen to my dreams and the promptings of the Holy Spirit despite what others might think or say or do? What skills, gifts, and talents has God given me to complete this task? 


As I say, I’ve become motivated by this spiritual practice of “fostering the Christ Child”. I would love to discuss it more with others. If you’re interested, let me know and maybe we can get together and ponder and wonder together about this.