My favorite part of Christmas

For every year since I can remember, my family has gathered in the living room to listen to my dad read the Christmas story.  As I talked about recently, we always have a Christmas play where we act out the story as my dad reads it.  There is no talking in this preformance.  There has been uncontrolable giggling at times, but definitely no talking.

It is because there is no talking that I have had the opportunity over the years to reflect on the story as my dad’s voice washes over the family.  It’s a special time of reflection.  It is through this reflection that I’ve had the opportunity to decide who my favorite characters of the story are.

For years, my favorite was Joseph.  He is still in my top 5 of favorite players in the story of the Saviors birth.  There is an album of Christmas music, my favorite album, called “The Forgotten Carols” by Michael McLean.  One of the best songs in this album is called “Joseph (I Was Not His Father, He was Mine).”

“He was working late one evening with the wood he knew so well,
When she thought she recognized him
Though at first, she  couldn’t tell

As she humbly begged his pardon
A strange sadness swelled inside when she asked,
“Aren’t you the father of the man they crucified?”
Then the carpenter repeated what he’d said so many times
He said, “I am not His father, He was mine.”

Then he humbly went on working with those worn and caloused hands
Though she did not ask more questions he knew she didn’t understand.

So he asked if she would help him
And he saw her answer in a glance
She did all the chores he asked her
and she was grateful for the chance
Then they talked for hours of Jesus
And how he knew He was divine
He said “I was not His father, He was mine.”
How could one so foolish and so flawed
Ever hope to raise the Son of God?

Then he spoke of the misgivings
He had had a thousand times
And how Jesus found the tender moments
To let him know he’d done just fine

Then the carpenter recited
The greatest truths he’d ever learned
And testified they came form Jesus
And her heart within her burned!

They embraced as she departed, Joseph told her one more time,
“Tell them I was not His father, tell them He was mine.
No, I was not His father, He was mine.”

Imagining how difficult it must have been to have the woman you were going to marry tell you that she was pregnant with a child that you knew was not yours has made me admire Joseph for years.  The Bible talks about how blessed Mary was to be the mother of the Savior.  And she certainly was.  I think people often forget that Joseph was chosen to be the father of the Savior.  Both people should be focused on as extremely blessed individuals.

That said, Joseph is not my absolute favorite character in this story any more.  In recent years the characters that I’ve been most interested in are the Wise Men.  People often forget that the Wise Men were not actually present when Jesus was born.  They arrived after Jesus was “a young child.”  Most Hebrew scholars (that I know of anyway) agree that this means Jesus was definitely older than 1 year old. There are a few things that I would like to highlight about the Wise Men.

1) They had studied sacred texts for years in perperation for the birth of the Savior.  They didn’t know if they were ever going to see Him in their lifetime, yet they dedicated their lives to learning all they could about Him and preparing for His coming.  As soon as they saw the star they knew exactly what it meant and left straightaway to worship the child.

2) They traveled for years in search of the holy child.  They were willing to suffer extreme hardships to be able to worship holiness.

Even if you are not a Christian, I feel like this is a fantastic example to try and emulate.  Dedicating your life to the pursuit of truth and being able to recognize when something true when it is presented to you is a very worthy goal, in my opinion.

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