Food for the Road 11: Absent fathers?

I remember writing, in my late teenage years, a nativity play for our junior Sunday School to put on for the church at our annual presentation evening. There was a full script, complete with carols and dance routines that ensured each child could play a part.

Joseph was one of the main characters, of course: he is Jesus’ dad after all. But after weeks of rehearsal, on the actual night Joseph was a no-show. And I would have had no show without my middle brother who (very begrudgingly) stepped in to the part just a few minutes before the curtain was raised.

I will never forget the sight of him shuffling uncomfortably across the stage, eyes alternating “adoring glances” between the heights of heaven and the white-wrapped doll in his arms, to Joseph’s Song. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA and AWWWWWWWWWWW!

The real Joseph takes a bow from Scripture shortly after the story of his son’s birth. He is vaguely referenced in the term “his parents” in Jesus’ presentation and circumcision at the temple eight days after the birth and, again, twelve years later when they lost Jesus in “his Father’s house” after a trip to Jerusalem to observe the Passover.

Yet his imprint is unmistakable in Jesus being identified as both the carpenter’s son and a carpenter himself.

Matthew 1:18-25 is headed in the NIV Bible “Joseph accepts Jesus as his son.” Today, I invite you to read his story and to think about the part that your own father has (or has not) played in your life and what mark that has made on who you are.

I’d also like to leave you with Joseph’s Song … because I still find the words beautiful as I search for my own place in the world and find my rest in my Father’s arms.

Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours ….

About Yvonne Ghavalas

A minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, sharer of stories, sandwich enthusiast, seeker, and sometimes fool (archaic), sporadic blogger at

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