Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Stepdad's Christmas Gift

by Bobby Collins
© 2012

<NOTE: this true story is taken from our lesson book, Responsibility of A Lifetime.>

It was a common enough story. The young man had already fallen in love with 
the girl, they had been seeing each other for awhile, they had even made 
plans to get married. Their future looked perfect.

Then, not too long before their wedding, she told him she was pregnant. He 
was stunned. Not just about the unplanned pregnancy, but mostly because the 
two of them had not ... done anything yet. Both had agreed to wait until 
they were officially husband and wife. So, whose was the baby?! He knew it 
was not his. But she was turning to him to help her solve her problem.

His first thought was to save himself - just cut her loose, that was what 
his friends said. She could tell her family whatever she wanted. It was none 
of his business. She had gotten herself into this mess, let her get herself 
out. He had his whole life (not to mention the reputation of his family!) to 
think of.

But the more he thought about that, the more he realized he could not just 
leave her to face it alone. She was really special -- and he was really in 
love. Something about her touched his heart in a way he had never been 
touched before. And he was afraid he would never feel this way again if he 
let her go.

So, against all advice and common sense, he decided to stick around - at 
least long enough to help her get through the pregnancy. Some of her family 
(and most of her friends) had decided that she was a slut and did not 
deserve to have their friendship and help. One by one they turned away from 
her in disgust, some openly, some by just insisting they were constantly too 
busy to see her. Finally,  he was her only friend, her only support.

Of course, it meant more difficulties, since they had not planned on it. 
Neither of them had any money for a baby - they barely had enough for the 
two of them. And still, always in the back of his mind -- it was not his 

The birth was difficult, but he was there to help. He never left her side as 
she birthed someone elses baby. After the baby boy was born, his feelings 
for this girl were even stronger. Plus, since it was part of her, he had 
already started caring for her baby.

As the little boy grew by days, months, and years, the man never tried to 
say he was his dad, even though he felt like it more and more of the time.

So, this stepdad moved unofficially into the position of daddy to the little 
boy. He helped him when the baby took his very first steps. He taught the 
boy the important things in life:  how to fish, how to throw a ball, and how 
to spit without getting yourself wet. He showed him the beauty of a sky full 
of stars, a sunset over the lake, and a flower in the grass.

He also taught the little boy to know the difference between right and 
wrong, to be respectful of his elders, and to be fair when he played games 
with others. And he taught his stepson to be nice to ladies and girls and 
those littler than him.

The stepdad showed his wife's son what it means to be committed to someone, 
even though you might not be responsible for them legally. He loved the boy 
no matter how he acted. He never turned away from him.

He also demonstrated how a real man should love his wife - tenderly, 
unselfishly, and unconditionally. The boy saw his stepfather loving his 
mother in many ways: by speaking respectfully to her, by helping her with 
the household chores, by opening doors and holding chairs for her, and by 
giving her his full attention.

He showed his stepson how to work hard, but still make time for important 
details like the boy's sports and school events. He took his family to 
church to show them the importance of worship and gratitude for being part 
of a family. He laughed and he cried with the boy, and he helped him grow 
into a good man because a good man cared.

And when the young man had grown and was ready to leave home for a life of 
his own, the stepdad lost part of his heart. Even though the boy was not 
really his own. Because thats what stepparents do.

And because this unselfish man was willing to take on a family that was not 
really his; because he looked beyond a girl's shame and into her heart; and 
because he gave the best years of his life to love and guide and care for 
someone else's son ... because he took on the Responsibility of A Lifetime as a 
stepparent, his stepson - Jesus - passed on to us many of the lessons he 
learned from his stepdad, Joseph.

MORAL of the story:

Your stepchild may not turn out as perfect as Joseph's did, but every stepchild - even yours is as important to God as Joseph's was. Look for the good in your stepchild. Nurture that spark of divine. Bless him or her as though he or she was that Christmas stepchild of Joseph's. 

You don't have to be a Joseph - or a Mary - to be a vital part of your stepchild's development. Give your heart. Give your time. Give your mate all of you, and your stepchild will see and learn about love from you. You can be the most important contribution your stepchild receives.

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