We can hardly help but be struck at the few families whose histories we trace in the New Testament. But the one that comes before our view now, stands alone. Never, before or since, has there been such a Child as the little One who was born in that stable in Bethlehem, because there was no room for Him in the inn.



O ever homeless Stranger,

Thus, dearest friend to me:

An outcast in the manger

That Thou might’st with us be.


How rightly rose the praises

Of heaven, that wondrous night,

When shepherds veiled their faces

In brightest angel light:


Come now and view that manger:

The Lord of Glory see,

A houseless, homeless Stranger

In this poor world for thee.


“to God in the highest-glory-

And peace on earth,’ to find

And learn that wondrous story-

‘Good pleasure in mankind.’



Blessed Babe who lowly liest

In manger-cradle there;

Descended from the Highest,

Our sorrows all to share.


We cling to Thee in weakness,

The manger, and the cross-

We gaze upon Thy meekness

Through suffering pain and loss


There see the Godhead glory

Shine through that human veil,

And willing hear the story

Of love that’s come to heal.


My soul in secret follows

The footsteps of His love-

I trace the Man of Sorrows

His boundless grace to prove.


A child in growth and stature

Yet full of wisdom rare:

Sonship in conscious nature-

His words and ways declare.


Yet still, in meek submission,

His patient path He trod;

To wait His heavenly mission,

Unknown to all but God.




          We fain would linger in that dear home at Nazareth: but the Wisdom of God has, for the most part, drawn a veil over those childhood years. We do get that lovely glimpse of Him when He was twelve years old: and we hear Him say to His mother: “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49.) The literal meaning is, His Father’s ‘things’ were the very atmosphere in which He lived. Yet, see Him, the LORD of Glory, return with His parents to that humble home; and there He “was subject to them.”


          In that carpenter’s home at Nazareth our Lord was ‘brought up’. It is almost exactly the same word which the Spirit uses of us, with our children, In Ephesians 6:4 (Trepho and Ek-trepho). “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” However, of this we may speak later. But let us who are parents gaze for a moment on that ‘bringing up.’ Never had there been such a child: Never was He disobedient; never cross; never sulky; never rude; never self-willed; never untruthful. How very different to us, when we were children! How very different to the children we seek by His grace to bring up now! He had four brothers: James and Joses, and Juda and Simon, besides “His sisters.” (Mark 6:3). In this verse He is called “the carpenter,” and doubtless as a boy and a young man, He worked at Joseph’s trade in the carpenter shop. Perhaps at this time Joseph was dead, as here our Lord is spoken of as “the son of Mary,” and no mention is made of Joseph.


          We know that for some time after He entered His public ministry His brethren did not believe on Him; and it is more than probably that the envy of those brothers (in that lovely story in Genesis) who were so different to their brother Joseph, was but a picture of the envy of these unbelieving brothers in Nazareth. This would make life hard for that Child; but how sweet to see that the one next in age, and perhaps nearest to Him, “James, the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:19), was quickly won to be His loyal and faithful follower. Nor was James the only one of those four who were won by Him; for in 1 Corinthians 9:5, we see “the brethren of the Lord” linked with Cephas. And we may well believe, (as we might expect), that each one of that family at Nazareth became earnest, true and devoted followers of their, and our, Lord Jesus Christ.


          When we turn to the Epistle of James, written almost surely by our Lord’s brother, we read in the first verse: “James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is most refreshing to see James link the Lord Jesus Christ with God in this way, showing his absolute faith in the Deity of Christ: and it is lovely to see how whole heartedly he confesses Him as Lord, and owns himself His “slave” for this is the meaning of the word translated “servant.” A slave is one bought with a price, and James, the brother of our Lord, openly confesses this of himself in the first words of his letter.


          Is it using our imagination too much to suppose that those years, when our Lord was being “brought up” in the same home as James His ‘brother’, were amongst the influences that won him for the One Who was his ‘brother’ yet his Lord? In the light of   1 Peter 3:1, we may suppose that this was the case. Peter is speaking of unbelieving husbands, and he says: “If any obey not the Word, they also may without the Word be won by the conversation of the wives.” The word translated ‘conversation’ really means: ‘Manner of life; Behavior; Conduct.’ It is a very favorite word with Peter. He uses it eight times in his two little Epistles, while we only find it five other times in the whole New Testament. So, the behavior of the believing wife wins her unbelieving husband. James uses the same word in his Epistle, Chapter 3, Verse 13. I wonder if he was thinking of the ‘manner of life’, ‘the behavior’, ‘the conduct’ of Him Whom he had watched so closely throughout childhood, boyhood, and manhood, as he wrote those words? His mother kept all these sayings in her heart, and I doubt not His sayings and His manner of life had entered deeply into the heart of James also.