Monday, December 21, 2009

Joseph's Christmas (by Billy Coffey)

Hey folks.

Name's Joseph. Joseph who, you ask? Joseph of Nazareth. Jesus's Pop. The other father. No, no. That’s okay. No offense taken. I'm used to kind of being the guy in the corner, the mystery man. I don't mind, though. Promise.

I just wanted to tell everybody Merry Christmas, and thought this would be the best way to do it. Computers. Who could have dreamed that one up back in my day? It would have seemed impossible. But I've seen plenty of the impossible. Nothing much surprised me after that night.

Everybody considers Santa to be the father of Christmas, but I guess I could share that title. Which is funny, because I tend to be left out of things. The focus is on Jesus, as it should be, and then Mary. Angels. Shepherds. Wise men. There's a lot going on in the Christmas story. But me, I'm just the guy standing beside the manger in the Nativity scene. Not a lot of people understand my side of the story. Which is another reason why I'm here.

Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people. For many, it's the greatest time of the year. It's a time for joy and togetherness, for peace and love. For some, though, Christmas isn't what it should be. It can be lonely and depressing and scary. I knew both sides of Christmas on that night. I knew both the magic and the hardship.

You have to remember, Mary and I were far from home. Bethlehem is about seventy miles from Nazareth. The going wasn't easy, especially for her. There she was, nine months pregnant and having to ride a donkey all that way. We slept on the hard ground and had to deal with the weather. It was tough. And to make matters worse, we were travelling that far just to get taxed.

Then, once we got there, we find that there's so many people that all the rooms are full. So it's out to the stables for us. Let me tell you, that wasn't easy for me to bear. I'm supposed to provide for my family, right? But instead of me being able to get Mary a room, my pregnant wife has to sleep with the cows and the horses.

No, that first Christmas wasn't easy at all. Not for me. I was just a carpenter, remember? And to hear some folks, I wasn't even a very good one. I was just a man, just like any other. Yet an angel told me that the woman I loved was carrying God in her belly, our whole town was saying some Roman soldier was really the one who got her pregnant, and we were both weeks from home, tired and hungry and scared, having to spend the night in a barn. Doesn't sound like the scene on the front of your Christmas cards, does it?

So yes, I know this time of year can be tough. I know it can magnify the loneliness and fear that a person feels. But trust me on this: hidden behind all that loneliness and fear is the very same miracle that I saw that night. The real Christmas magic. Because when I held the Child, that fear and loneliness left me. Everything Mary and I had to endure seemed meaningless and small. The only thing that mattered was Him.

That's what I want to tell you. Whether these days find you well or sick, hopeful or fearful, whole or torn, He is what matters. Look at the Babe in the manger, and you will see everything differently from then on.

Merry Christmas to you all.



To read more from Billy Coffey, visit him at at his website and follow him on the twitter at @billycoffey.


And just in case you missed my daughter's letter from Santa on Christmas Change back in November, my friend Matt at the Church of No People is reposting it over at his place.

Merry Christmas!


Denise said...

Awesome post.

L.T. Elliot said...

That Child is everything to me. Thank you for this.

Katdish--your daughter's letter and Santa's reply have touched me more than words can say.

A Simple Country Girl said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This man has been on my mind too. A descendent of a giant-slaying boy, turned king, not being able to provide by the world's standard, but obeying the Lord and doing his utmost to live up to God's standard. Wow. The definition of "humility" is surely entangled with this man.

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...

Billy, great take and story!

Lexi (our 15 yr old daughter) has been writing a Christmas Story that I think you will enjoy reading!

She is gifted with words and a beautiful heart for Jesus!

Blessings and grace,

Glynn said...

The Nativity has become one of my favorite Christmas movies, I think because of how it tells the story of Joseph. Great letter, Joe!

Jo@Mylestones said...

Love it. Especially this: "Everything Mary and I had to endure seemed meaningless and small. The only thing that mattered was Him."

Annie K said...

Awesome Billy. Thanks for the reminder.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

I like this - nice!
Must be Joseph's year - our church's Christmas Eve service this year is an original production called Joseph's Journey. I look forward to hearing/seeing it - this was a nice warmup. If it wasn't so close to show time I would send the writer/director of the production this to give her ideas.

Laura said...

I love the Jewish tradition of Midrash. This is one of the reasons why.

Tina Dee Books said...

My husband wonders about Joseph too.

Thank you for helping us to remember the wonder of what the manger held that night, all for us and to His glory. Merry Christmas!

Helen said...

very nice post.

Maureen said...

I am glad, Billy, you chose to present "Joseph's Christmas". My husband and I have talked often of Joseph and his place in the Story.

I like to think of him as a stand-in for each of us, showing us that the path of hardship can lead into the Light.

Wonderful post. Thanks, Kathy.

Jim H said...

Thanks for sharing Billy with us - this is a great story - I'm sure we can all identify with Joseph on some level. Like Glynn, I really enjoyed the "Nativity Story" movie last year because of it's coming at the Christmas story from Joseph's perspective

T. Anne said...

Billy, love how you opened my eyes to His world. Thank you for introducing me to a new perspective of the Christmas story. I'll be thinking about Joseph all day. In a way it comforts me. Odd but true.

S. Etole said...

What a great trust Joseph had in his Father and in his Mary.

Corinne said...

I love this perspective.