As a man, I often feel inadequate.
Sometimes I feel like I have to measure up to some manly standard.
I feel inadequate as a father, as a husband, as a son, as a neighbor or as a friend. My view of myself as a provider, whether it be financial or emotional, never seems to be adequate.
I wonder if Joseph felt inadequate as he led a donkey that carried his pregnant wife. He is supposed to be the provider for his growing family. The best he can do when they need a place to stay is an animal shelter. Looking back on Joseph's history, he must have dome pretty well as a husband and dad. His wife and child went on to change the world forever.
I wonder if he felt inadequate when his son went missing for 3 days. When Joseph and his wife found their son, he was teaching teachers. When Mary told him how worried that she and his father had been, his reply was: "Didn't you know that I was doing my Father's business?" They didn't have a clue what he meant.
Sometimes I don't have a clue as a husband or father. I see my children or wife in pain and I want to take it away and I can't. The story of Christmas is about a new birth. The story of the child who was born continues through the years and includes death on a cross. That's not where the story ends.
Joseph felt inadequate as a dad when his son was missing for 3 days. It must have felt like Christmas when he found his son. I wonder if his mom felt inadequate when her son died on the cross and was dead for 3 days. She must have felt like it was Christmas when he rose again. They don't call it the second Christmas but they could have. Of course they didn't celebrate Christmas back then. They just kept going through a process of having something lost and then found.
I've come to realize that I must be about my Father's business. There are no inadequacies in His creation. He separated darkness from light. He separated the heavens from the earth. He separated land from water. He separated the seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. He filled his separations with living critters. He separated men and women from the world, created them in His image.
I cannot be an inadequate image of God. His creation is constantly separating through lostness and foundness - death and new life. My inadequacies cannot be my cross, they must be nailed to the cross. My heart must be placed in the manger of Christmas.
A manger may not seem like an adequate place to be born.
A cross may not seem like an adequate place to die.
The separation between the manger and the cross is another phase of the creation of God. All of His creation works together adequately.
I hope your Christmas is filled with the newness and foundness of peace, joy and love in the smiles of your heart. Jesus loves you and so do we.