Saturday, July 25, 2009



“Did Jesus have a Grandma?”

“He sure did, Jeffrey. And a Grandpa too. His Mother Mary had parents who probably lived in Jerusalem where she may have been brought up.”

“Does the Bible tell us what Jesus’ grandparents’ names were?”

“Nothing is written about them in the Bible. We only know from tradition and some other writings that are not in the Bible. Do you remember what ‘tradition’ is?”

“It was the way history and other stuff was passed on from the older people to the younger people, like telling stories because they didn’t have books or printing presses way back when.”

“We would be thinking about people who lived more than two thousand years ago. Most people didn’t even know how to read and write. It wasn’t because they weren’t smart, but because schools weren’t available for most people until later centuries. Sometimes only boys had a chance to go to school. People who knew how to write did so by hand on scrolls.”

“We learned about that in school. They used papyrus to write on, and that’s how we got the word ‘paper.’”

“Anyway, what we do know from tradition is that Jesus’ Grandma was named Anne, and his Grandpa was Joachim. His Grandma was said to have been born in Bethlehem and Grandpa was from Nazareth. Both of Jesus’ Mother Mary’s parents were from the tribe of Judah and the royal house of King David. They were very devoted to God. The Bible does record that Jesus’ foster grandfather, his foster Dad Joseph’s father, was named Jacob, but we don’t know the name of Jesus’ foster Grandma or if they were living when Jesus was born.”

“What did Jesus’ Grandpa Joachim do for his job?”

“Tradition tells us that he was a special kind of shepherd who raised sheep for the temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. It is possible that he died quite early and Grandma Anne was living alone while Jesus was growing up. Perhaps the two families lived near each other in Nazareth.”

“Do you suppose Jesus went over to his Grandma’s to play or to have sleepovers? “

“That might have happened. Most houses had flat roofs with steps on the outside of the house to get up to the roofs. On hot nights in the summer perhaps Jesus slept on a mat with Grandma Anne on the roof.”

“Maybe they watched the stars together, the stars that Jesus created when he was with God before the world began. Do you think Grandma Anne played games with Jesus? And had cookies or some goodies for Him when he came over to visit?”

“I wouldn’t be surprised. They wouldn’t have been your favorite chocolate chip cookies though. Maybe Grandma Anne kept a stone jar, like our cookie jars, of sweet preserved dates or figs especially to give Jesus a treat.”

“Maybe she cooked and baked some favorite things for him too. All grandmas do that, right?”

“Tradition tells us that Grandma Anne may have married again after Grandpa Joachim died, and that Jesus had other cousins and relatives to grow up with. When he was old enough Jesus went to the Synagogue School with the other boys in the neighborhood. He must have been a good student. Do you remember what the Bible says happened when he was twelve years old?

“His family and lots of relatives went on a trip to Jerusalem for some celebration and Jesus hung around the temple talking to the priests and religious leaders and they were surprised at how much he knew about God. Then everybody left to go home to Nazareth and he got left behind.”

“Joseph and Mary thought he was with other relatives and so didn’t miss him right away. It was like a caravan, people were mostly walking in groups or families. When they found out Jesus wasn’t there, they hurried back to Jerusalem to look for him. That’s when they found him in the temple with the Jewish leaders.”

“I guess Jesus would have been old enough by then to have an after school job working with Joseph in his shop to learn the building trade. I’ll bet Jesus did a good job helping Joseph. But he still must have had time to visit his Grandma Anne. Maybe she had a special bedroom for him like you have for me.”

“Guess what? Today, July 26, happens to be a feast day to celebrate Saint Anne, Jesus’ Grandma! Every year on that date we honor her.”

“A feast? Does that mean like a banquet with lots of food?”

“Not really. In the Catholic Church there are certain days set aside to honor very holy people who did many good works for others. We call them ‘feast days’ which really means ‘holy days.’ But I’ll tell you what—maybe we can find some dates or figs in my cupboard and we can eat them and think about how much Grandma Anne loved Jesus and how he loved her.”

“Well, Grandma Anne is alive in Heaven right now, right? So when we get there, maybe we can ask her to tell us some stories about Jesus when he was a boy and visited her! I’ll bet she will remember!”


No comments: