What kind of father was Joseph? … What kind of father am I?

Imagining the kind of father Joseph must have been

Recently I’ve been preaching at a little country church 45 miles from Champaign-Urbana.  Yesterday after the services I was standing at the front of the sanctuary looking at the beautiful tree and the nativity set adorning the stage in the 100-year-old church.

One of the elders of the church joined me.  I said, “This is a nice figurine of Joseph.  I can only imagine what kind of father he was to Jesus.”

“Yeah, I’m sure,” he said.  Then he was strangely quiet. He just stood there with his arms folded.

So I changed the subject, or so I thought.  “Well, 2013 is almost gone.  How was your year?”

“Well, I lost my dad earlier this year,” he said.

“Oh,” I said.  “I’m so sorry.”

“That’s okay,” he said.  “We didn’t have much of a relationship.  We hadn’t talked much in recent years — hardly at all actually.  Somehow we just couldn’t seem to communicate.”

“That sounds hard.  I’m really sorry.”

“Me too.  Maybe I should have tried harder.  I just don’t know.”

He looked over at his 85-year-old mother standing at the other end of the pew.  “My mom’s sure a good woman.  She’s here every Sunday.  I guess you’ve noticed that.  She never misses.  I’m sure glad she’s in my life still.  I wouldn’t want to lose her.”

We both stood looking at the nativity set for a few more seconds.  Finally he said, “Well, my friend, Merry Christmas to you and yours.”

He smiled and shook my hand.

“Merry Christmas to you, too,” I said. 

He walked over to his mom.  She took his arm and they slowly walked out of the church building.

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