It was 1988 and country singer/songwriter Skip Ewing was tired. After a long season of recording and performances, he left Nashville and headed home to California to spend Christmas with his family. Even though he had seen some success and his family and friends considered him famous, he wasn’t satisfied with his accomplishments and felt sad about the condition of the world and especially the state of his own family. Skip’s parents had divorced when he was young and his family seemed extremely dysfunctional. Throughout his journey, he prayed God would move in some significant way during the holiday season.
As he walked through the front door of his grandmother’s home in California, Skip was confident that God had not answered his prayer. Throughout his family visit, however, a song concept began to form in his mind. To gather his thoughts, he hid from his family in another room and tried to write down his thoughts. He later told Jim Lewis of United Press International, “My whole family was in my grandmother’s living room around the piano singing Christmas carols. I was in my cousin’s room with my hands over my ears trying to hear myself think.”
The lyrics Skip penned were from the perspective of Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Joseph had it tough. He had to endure the ridicule and possible rejection of others then assist in the delivery and raising of a son which wasn’t his child. Like many parents who embrace children who aren’t identified with themselves biologically, Joseph took Jesus as his own son and loved him dearly.
When Skip finally emerged from the bedroom, his grandmother asked him to debut his new song for the family. He took his guitar and sang “It Wasn’t His Child” for the very first time. He could tell by his family’s response that he had written a very unique and meaningful song.
The song was later released on Skip’s album The Will to Love which, ironically, is not a Christmas album. It has been covered by numerous artists including Sawyer Brown, Trisha Yearwood, and Reba McIntire.
Click here to listen to It Wasn’t His Child performed by Tim McGraw.
*Photo courtesy of Josh Applegate