CSOTD 12/2/2015: Joseph wonders aloud

The Christmas songs about the birth of the Christ child tell the tale from many points of view. They are about Jesus, Mary, the Magi, the angels, the shepherds, the town of Bethlehem, and of course, what it all meant (and still means).  But Joseph often gets short shrift.  My Christmas Song of the Day for December 2 was an attempt to rectify that.

4HIM was a four-man vocal group that first came together in a revolving-door eight-person Christian group called Truth. In 1990, spurred on by an offer from the Benson Records label, Andy Chrisman, Mark Harris, Marty Magehee and Kirk Sullivan left to form their own quartet. They immediately became one of the most popular groups in Contemporary Christian music.

In 1993, 4HIM released Christmas: The Season of Love, a 10-song CD that contained both traditional and new Christmas songs. The last song on the disc was the one that stuck out. Harris, the singer and co-composer of the song, wondered aloud how Joseph might have felt about the events transpiring on that night. Why, he wondered, was “a simple man of trade” part of God’s great plan? Or Mary, “just an ordinary girl”? It didn’t make sense, but it worked out in the end.

It’s been more than 20 years since the original version of the song was released, and it’s still often heard on contemporary Christian stations that play Christmas music this time of year. But it hasn’t crossed over to secular radio. It’s been frequently covered, but to these ears, the original version has never been topped.  Listen as 4HIM sings “A Strange Way to Save the World.”


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