Joseph, Better You Than Me

On Tuesday came the release of a new Christmas single “Joseph, Better You Than Me” by The Killers, Elton John and Neil  Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys–with all proceeds going toward the Product Red campaign.

The song attempts to ask questions about Joseph of whom the scriptures say little about–All the gospels tell us is that Joseph became engaged to Mary (already pregnant with child); accompanied her to Bethlehem for the census; and led the family to Egypt after being told in a vision that King Herod was out to kill their son Jesus.  Readers never learn what Joseph was thinking and feeling or why Joseph is absent from Jesus’ life as an adult.

The artists wonder what it must have been like to have been in Joseph’s shoes, ultimately concluding that nobody else but Joseph could’ve carried on the role of Mary’s partner and surrogate father to God-with-us.  And Joseph’s experience , the song suggest, opened his eyes to a new reality of living in God’s love and grace.

“Joseph, Better You Than Me”

Well your eyes just haven’t been the same, Joseph
Are you bad at dealing with the fame, Joseph
There’s a pale moonshine, above you
Do you see both sides, do they shove you, around

Is the touchstone forcing you to hide, Joseph
Are the rumors eating you alive, Joseph

When the holy night is upon you
Will you do what’s right, the position is yours

From the temple walls to the New York night
Our decisions rest on a child
When she took her stand
Did she hold your hand
Will your faith stand still or run away
Run away

When they’ve driven you so far
That you think you’re gonna drop
Do you wish you were back there at the carpenter shop

With the plane and the lathe
The work never drove you mad
You’re a maker, a creator
Not just somebody’s dad

From the temple walls to the New York night
Our decisions rest on a man
When I take the stand
When I take the stand
Will he hold my hand
Will my faith stand still or run away

(run away)

And the desert
It’s a hell of a place to find heaven
Forty years lost in the wilderness looking for God
And you climb to the top of the mountain
Looking down on the city
Where you were born

(On the years since you left gave you time to sit back and reflect)

Better you than me (Better you than me)
Better you than me
Yes

Well the Holy night is upon you (Better you than me 2x)
Do you see both sides, do they shove you, around

Better you than me, Joseph (Better you than me)
Better you than me
Joseph, Joseph, Joseph, Joseph
Than me
Better you than me
Better you than me (Better you, better you, better you)
Than me

Well your eyes just haven’t been the same, Joseph

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