In preparing to teach this lesson to the 11 year old children I decided to do further reading and studying for my own benefit. The following are quotes from various articles for you to ponder and think on.
“As there is only one Christ, so there is only one Mary. And as the Father chose the most noble and righteous of all his spirit sons to come into mortality as his Only Begotten in the flesh, so we may confidently conclude that he selected the most worthy and spiritually talented of all his spirit daughters to be the mortal mother of his Eternal Son.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Bookcraft, Inc., 1965, vol. 1, p. 85.)
“When we consider the strong influence that a mother has on the personality and attitude of a young child in the home, we sense the responsibility that our Heavenly Father gave Mary by entrusting her with the rearing of his chosen and Beloved Son. This would require the adequate training of Mary, both as a premortal spirit and as a young woman in mortality. Notwithstanding her preearth assignment, Mary would not have been worthy to bear the Son of God and give him a body of flesh and blood unless she was clean and pure in mortal life.” (Robert J. Matthews, “Mary and Joseph“, Ensign, Dec. 1974, 13)
“And what of Joseph? What kind of a person would the Father select as the husband of Mary and the guardian and earthly model for Jesus? The scriptures are not entirely silent, although direct references are few. Because the father is to teach correct principles by precept and example and be a counselor, we must conclude that our Heavenly Father made careful selection in his choice of Joseph. That Joseph was spiritually sensitive and of a kindly disposition is reflected in the scriptural record. He was susceptible to divine guidance through the ministrations of angels and by dreams (see Matt. 1:20; Matt. 2:13, 19, 23); he wished not to bring embarrassment upon Mary nor to “make her a publick example” (Matt. 1:19). In addition, we would expect to find in Joseph certain moral, intellectual, and social qualities befitting his important assignment.” (Robert J. Matthews, “Mary and Joseph“, Ensign, Dec. 1974, 13)
“One can only imagine the agony and torment of uncertainty and doubt that must have filled the soul of Joseph the carpenter. Matthew teaches us that Joseph was a just man and hence was “not willing to make her [Mary] a publick example,” choosing rather to “put her away privily.” (Matt. 1:19.) Why was Joseph called a just man? First, he was just and upright in that he showed kindness and mercy toward Mary between the time that Mary was “found with child of the Holy Ghost” and the time that he learned in a vision 6 that Mary was involved in a marvelous part of the divine drama whereby the Son of God would soon take upon himself a “tabernacle of clay.” The unwritten part of this story is simply that Joseph showed mercy toward his beloved Mary, who was now, it seemed (what else was there to believe?), expecting someone else’s child. Joseph chose not to accuse Mary publicly of immorality and thus not to subject her to trial.
“Joseph’s status as a just man is seen in his awe and respect for the plan of salvation, which he recognized in unfolding fashion in the conception of the Promised Messiah within his espoused wife. Thus the message of the angel in the vision—”Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:20)—was intended to assure the carpenter that a part of God’s plan did include Joseph’s marriage to Mary, and that he too had a significant role in the long-awaited Messianic era that was about to be ushered in.” (Robert L. Millet, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels, pg 143)
“Luke’s statement that “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52) speaks volumes. He developed in understanding and intellectual powers. He developed physically, such that his body would prove a benefit and blessing to his work. He developed in his relationship with God, line upon line, precept upon precept. Jesus did not receive the fullness of light and power and glory at the first of his life but received “grace for grace”; that is, our Lord was blessed by his Father as he continually gave of himself to others in service. He thereby progressed “from grace to grace,” from one level to a higher, from a lesser spiritual endowment to a greater. (See D&C 93:12-20.) Finally, Jesus of Nazareth developed socially, “in favor with man.” Jesus loved people, for people were his reason for being: his work and glory were to “bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39.) (Robert L. Millet, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels, pg 156)
“We know little for certain of the home life and childhood of Jesus, but there are many indications. We have already observed that Joseph was a carpenter, and we know that Jesus followed the same occupation. (See Mark 6:3.) The atmosphere of the home was one of obedience to the Lord as commanded in the divine law. It was at home that Jesus probably received his first lessons about the history of Israel and of past deliverances of his people by the hand of the Lord; here he also undoubtedly learned of the hopes and expectations for the future, as written in the scriptures. The preparations of his parents each week to observe the Sabbath, their attendance at the synagogue, their observance of feast days, and their preparations and conversations each year as they made ready to go up to Jerusalem for the Passover would be impressive object lessons to the young Jesus.
“We don’t know how many other children there were in the family, but the New Testament names four boys and lists some sisters. The Greek manuscripts are helpful here. Matthew speaks of “all” (Greek: pantai) his sisters (Matt. 13:56), suggesting more than two. The Greek term hai adelphia (the sisters) is used in the manuscripts, signifying a plurality—that is, three or more sisters. If the record had intended to convey that there were only two sisters, it is probable that the word pantai would not have been employed, but, instead, the word amphoterai, meaning “both,” would have been used.
“Thus the household of Joseph and Mary apparently numbered at least five boys (including Jesus) and at least three girls—eight children—in addition to the parents.
“There are two lines of thought as to the identity of these other children. Some hold that they were children of Joseph by a former marriage and not the children of Mary at all. In this case, Jesus would be younger than they, and of no close blood relation. This is a popular concept in the Christian world today, and illustrations of the “holy family” therefore generally picture Joseph as much older than Mary.
“Another view is that these were actually the children of Joseph and Mary, and were half-brothers and sisters to Jesus, he being the eldest. Both of these views have their advocates and there are hints in the scriptures that can be interpreted to favor either point of view. However, Jesus is termed Mary’s “firstborn” son, which is indicative that she later gave birth to other children. (See Luke 2:7.) A more compelling reason for believing that these are Mary’s children is that Joseph’s firstborn son from his first wife would have been the heir to the Davidic throne instead of Jesus.” (Robert J. Matthews, “Mary and Joseph“, Ensign, Dec. 1974, 13)