Baby smiles are irresistible, especially when you are the object of the little one’s delight. We have a smiling 4-month-old in our home right now. His siblings and parents will do any number of antics to make him grin. But, more often than not, the most rewarding smiles are those that extend across his face when a person he knows merely walks into his field of vision and he recognizes them.
As we approach the Solemnity celebrating St. Joseph, the foster-father of Jesus, I try to imagine what it must have been like to parent the Son of God. When the Christ Child’s face lit up in recognition of His earthly father, St. Joseph beheld both the delight of his son and, through that Son, the delight of the Heavenly Father for each of us. While other children Jesus’ age progressed out of that initial, innocent expression of pleasure, Jesus likely retained that purity of joy and love for His parents. Instead of being a saucily independent toddler, a petulant preteen or a cynical teenager, Jesus continued to greet His parents at every moment with the recognition of love and wholehearted delight.