Joseph, the strong protector
According to Matthew's Gospel, Joseph has a stronger role.
Not only does he, as the child's legal father, give Jesus the right to be called a descendant of David, but he protects the child and his mother.
Warned in a dream, he takes Jesus and Mary into Egypt to escape from King Herod, who wants to kill the child as a rival to his power.
Like the infant Moses, threatened by Pharoah's massacre of Jewish infants, the child Jesus must be guarded from wicked forces threatening his life.
Joseph, directed by his dreams, is the watchman to whom God entrusts the son and his mother at a dangerous time.
The young family then returned to their home in Nazareth to live among their relatives and friends.
They said nothing about the child.
God, who provided mysteriously for his birth, would unfold the rest in time.
The prophet Isaiah had said of the Messiah: "A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse." God had placed the growing child, like a tender plant, in their hands.
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