By SUSAN MCCONNELL
At the end of every Christmas season, I make a list of items I need to purchase before the next Christmas. This year, when I pulled out my list, there was only one item written on the paper: “I need a Joseph!” No wrapping paper, gift tags, tree lights or bows. Just a Joseph. And then I remembered the manger scene. Joseph was broken! He is made of paper mache and has a gaping hole where his left arm, heart and chest should be.
So, I searched the stores for just a Joseph. Not one could be found. Stores sell individual shepherds, wise men, angels and sheep but Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus are all sold together. One store clerk suggested that I call the manufacturer and ask for a special order. I did not have the gumption to tell her that I had bought the nativity set 30 years ago at a yard sale for $2 and knew it came from Sears, Roebuck and Company! The disintegrated box was long ago thrown away.
The reason I love this particular manger scene is that it is just like the one my mother placed under our Christmas tree when I was growing up. So, what could I do? I thought I could just arrange the scene without Joseph. After all, he wasn’t baby Jesus’ real dad. What was I thinking? Of course he was baby Jesus’ earthly father. He raised him and taught him to be a carpenter until Jesus began his ministry. Besides, I have spent most of my adult life promoting the importance of family through my counseling, writing and speaking.
We all need a dad, even broken dads, or imperfect dads. When we don’t have a dad, we can know that God is our heavenly father. Isaiah 7:14 says, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us).” He is always with us. So, this Christmas season, although you may have a broken Joseph in your life, or not one at all, know that “God is with us” always, even when we don’t expect His presence or feel His presence. Be encouraged and blessed this Christmas season.
Susan McConnell is the author of two books on parenting: Raising Great Kids In A Tough World (Nelson, 2005) and Parenting In Tough Times (Eagle Books, 2007). She lives in Mobile.