Michael Card’s Joseph’s Song has been a favorite Christmas song of mine since I first heard it in 1991.
The heart of the lyrics are:
How could it be this baby in my arms,
sleeping now, so peacefully,
the Son of God, the angel said,
how could it be?
Lord I know He’s not my own,
not of my flesh, not of my bone.
Still Father let, this baby be,
the Son of my Love.
Father show me where I fit into this plan of Yours.
How can a man be father to the Son of God?
Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter.
How can I raise a King, how can I raise a King?
[listen to it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BARVAg0gl6w]
At the time I first heard the song, my three daughters were ages 8, 6 and 2. While not called to raise the Son of God, I nevertheless empathized with Joseph’s questions and request – his plea to God to enable him to love the child, his request for guidance in that work, his feelings of inadequacy.
As I heard the song, I prayed the same prayer and I trusted God as Michale Card envisioned that Joseph did.
A few months ago, my youngest daughter turned 20. So now, instead of all under 10, they are all over 20. And yet even now as I hear the song, I continue to emphasize with Joseph’s prayer. My role is different to be sure. In some ways, our relationships are more complex than ever. But the desire is the same: to understand the role God has given me at this stage of their lives and love them in that way.
In my quest for advice on this stage of life, I came across Paul’s words to the church at Thessalonica where he describes his treatment of them, likening himself to their father:
1 Thessalonians 2:10 “You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.“
So I ask God for help and wisdom on how I can encourage and comfort and challenge these adult children to be all that God has made them to be.
Dear Father, let it be.
(A note from my experience: go heavy on the encouragement and comfort; light on the challenge.)