On Saturday, I witnessed a scene that would awaken me to awe, wonder and joy. I was returning from a walk on the Greenway with Walker and Cowboy when I noticed a father pushing his two preschoolers on the swing set in our neighborhood's recreational area. It was my neighbor Justin and his two daughters so I decided to stop by and let the dogs say hello to the children. They love each other.
Tails were wagging and children were smiling as their father pushed his daughters on the swings. "Higher Daddy, both proclaimed, push me higher!" The youngest, Allie, shared with me that she had found a candy wrapper and that she loved gummy bears. She was sharing her sense of awe, wonder and joy and I soaked it all in while I admired the dedicated father in the background. A father's support in the background is essential in order for the gifts of God to grow and mature.
Later that day I was organizing a collection of keepsakes and I found saved Father's Day cards that my children had given me and I had collected over the years. One card read:
"God in all His wisdom came up with something new to show how much He loved the world and all His children too. Something really useful, something strong and kind and good, a gift sent straight from heaven and He called it Fatherhood."
With each card that I read and re-read, I was awakened to the supportive role of fatherhood and its importance. Yet so much of this support is in the background; not drawing attention to itself nor demanding repayment for the effort. To be a father is to both drive and take a backseat at the same time.
Maybe that is why Joseph's role in the gospel takes on more of a background quality. In Luke, Mary sings the Magnificat while in Matthew's gospel, Joseph says nary a word.
Throughout the life of Jesus, Joseph takes on a supportive role in the background. This coming Sunday as we hear Joseph's story let us remember the gift of Fatherhood which pushes the swing of awe, wonder and joy securely in the background.