Gateway to the Classics: The Way of the Gate by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
The Way of the Gate by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Little Boy of the Carpenter's Shop

His name was Jesus, and he lived with Joseph and Mary, His mother, at Nazareth.

It was a happy place for any little boy to live. Nearly always the sun shone. The wind, blowing down from the hills, brought the sweet smell of flowers. And every one loved this little Boy who had come from Bethlehem to live in Nazareth.

You would have liked to step inside the door of Joseph's carpenter shop. Such a busy, pleasant place as it was, full of the odors of cedar and other woods. In those days people lived out of doors more than they do now. And they liked to fill their houses with clear, fresh air from the hills. When they built a new house, they came to Joseph, the carpenter, for help. He was able to make lattice windows and wide doorways for them that would let in the sun and the fresh air.

Outside, in the streets of Nazareth, the children played. Looking through the door of Joseph's shop, the Boy Jesus could see them at play. He could hear the sound of the small gilt trumpets they loved to blow. But Jesus did not look out very long. This little Boy had given up His playtime to help in the carpenter's shop.

All day long Joseph measured, and cut, and fitted his small and large pieces of wood. All day long the Boy Jesus helped Joseph to measure the boards and make them smooth. He could fit them together as well as if he had learned the trade. His eyes seldom left His work, although the children must have called Him sometimes to join their play. He was a careful, wise child, always giving up his own pleasure to help others.

Sometimes Mary came out to the shop with food for her two loved ones. As Joseph and her little Son ate, she touched the work that the Boy had finished. Each piece of wood was as true as it could be! Each, piece was as smooth as the little Boy's soft, brown cheek. Mary was very, very proud of Jesus. She knew that His Heavenly Father had made Him more careful and thoughtful than other children.

Then Jesus helped Joseph by carrying home the finished pieces of work. He put the heavy boards on His straight shoulders and passed swiftly through the streets of Nazareth. He knew that a child must not stop on the way, although He passed so many of the others playing.

When the day's work was over Jesus rested in the door of the shop, and His mother came and stood beside Him, and looked down into His loving little face. He smiled back at her, although what He thought was a secret.

We know, though, what the little Boy of the carpenter shop was thinking. He was thinking that even a child may do his Heavenly Father's work, in helping his earthly father. And fitting boards together is a good beginning if a child does it as well as he can.

The works that I do in my Father's name, these bear witness of me.

—John x. 25.

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