Kathryn Lopez

My friend's son made it home. Another friend's brother didn't, killed by an IED in Afghanistan a few months ago. Over the past eight years, people have had innocence, limbs and lives taken from them while voluntarily serving our country during the war on terror. Their stories should inspire us, and they have -- tales of wounded men on multiple tours, even after suffering catastrophic injuries. Visit Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and your response may be a lot like mine: These folks have what it takes.

Similarly, the interaction my friend had with the president struck me as so very Christmas. For all the "Bush lied, people died," hysteria, there is something of St. Joseph in George W. Bush.

St. Joseph plays a key part in the Christmas story. If you're a believer, you know -- you have faith -- that he wasn't Jesus Christ's biological father. But he was a loving, hard-working man, who out of all men the Creator trusted with his Son. St. Joseph had a faith that allowed him to follow divine requests that couldn't have made a whole lot of sense. He was a model of masculine faith. While all men are not called to act as a father to the most important man in human history, Christian manhood involves providing, protecting and obeying, not just when it comes to family life, but also in the Church. What would any religion be without a few good men?

Even if you're not a believer, St. Joseph was a carpenter who protected the reputation of the woman he loved and provided for his family -- including going so far as to take his family to Egypt to save his son's life. In the bible, James describes him as a "doer."

And it's not just "The Decider" that seems to channel a little bit of Joseph. The moving and shaking of St. Joseph brings to mind so many men I've encountered over this past year. I know some of them as fathers of a less-traditional sort, united in purpose with St. Joseph. I think of the founder of the conservative movement -- and the magazine where I work -- who fought the Cold War and built a freedom revolution. He was a man who was deeply in love with his wife, even after she left this world. I think of his current successor, who works daily to protect the legacy with which he has been entrusted. And I think of a talk-show phenom who never forgets to invest in human capital, fathering the movement by teaching for three hours a day and supporting his fellow happy warriors, no matter where they are on the totem pole.

And it's a bipartisan thing. St. Joseph can be seen, too, in a president-elect who could use the opportunity that the American people have given him to renew the face of fatherhood in America -- and in the inner city, a place he is no stranger to. We can't afford not to teach our sons the way of St. Joseph. There's no time like Christmas to start doing so.


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.