|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.