The Gift of the Child

Categorized as 12/22/08 Goshen News column

It’s a law of nature that the greater the darkness is, the more you need a light. Each day, it seems, brings more grim news of job losses and economic instability. Wars and rumors of wars continue to rock the planet. The world is groaning, desperate for deliverance and dying to be rescued from the misery and havoc brought about by sin.

How wonderful, then, that at this very time comes the season of hope that we call Christmas. It’s the story of a God who looked upon the suffering of His creation. Knowing that it was caused by their estrangement from Him, he did something quite strange and unexpected. He sent a baby.

How odd that His remedy, His grand solution, should come to us wrapped in swaddling clothes. And yet to this day we find that some of the best gifts come wearing diapers. The story that I share with you today is a timely reminder of this very thing.

Once upon a time in a city far away lived a young man and his lovely bride. They were a faithful, hardworking pair, he being a talented painter of automobiles and she being a skilled nurse. They were happy in their vocations, serving others with their hands and hearts and loving each other well.

After some years had passed, they decided that they were ready to start a family. One year went by, and then two with no baby.

Meanwhile, they were installed as youth pastors in their church. They gave themselves wholeheartedly to the work, ministering to other people’s children even as they struggled to conceive their own. For four years they labored in this capacity, and their service was marked by the fruit of changed lives, to the everlasting gratitude of many parents. Still, the Lord withheld from them the one gift they sought.

After three or four years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive, they sensed the Lord enlarging their hearts by giving them a burden for children in need. In obedience, they enrolled in foster parenting classes, willing to love those that weren’t theirs and then to let them go, hoping to find a child they could keep and raise for Him.

They completed the classes and the reams of paperwork. They plowed through miles of red tape, finally obtaining the license that made it all official. Nearly a month later, on an ordinary day in September 2007, they received a phone call that would change their lives forever.

A baby girl had been born, they were told, and she needed a home. Thrilled and excited, they eagerly received this dark-haired bundle fresh from Heaven. With dark eyes and chubby cheeks, it was love at first sight for the happy pair.

The months went by. The baby grew and waxed strong, bringing delight to her prospective parents and her extended family that had also come to love the child. In the back of their minds lurked the very real fear that she would one day be taken from them. What sweet agony such love is, and how brave are those who give themselves to practice it.

At long last, after many hopes and prayers, the adoption of Ashlyn Kaye by my baby brother, Terry, and his wife, Natalie, was finalized two weeks ago. There was great rejoicing in the courtroom that day as family and friends gathered to watch their miracle. Afterward, they celebrated with a party.

Natalie shared with me recently that during their difficult time of waiting on the Lord, she learned to rely on Him more deeply and to talk to Him. “One thing I learned was to be content and to be thankful for what I have today.” She said that she also learned that God is faithful and that He has a plan that will be carried out in His time.

It saddened her, she told me, to think of the birth mother who “really has not had a chance in life and has no family support or friends. It made me realize that we live in a fallen world. I am glad that we were able to adopt, but at the same time it is sad that adoption is necessary.”

What a precious reminder of the gift of another infant that came so long ago. His Father’s heart was broken over the sin of mankind, and so He sent the baby in order that we might be adopted into His family. The story of the Christ child transcends Christmas and culminates in His death and the glorious resurrection of Easter for this purpose.

And so in the darkness, a light shines. The suffering we experience today is only temporary if our adoptions, like Ashlyn’s, have been “finalized.” In the last chapter of earth’s story, there will be another grand party one day to celebrate our adoption in a land where there is no night. There’s a place at the table for you.

From our family to yours, a very Merry Christmas, and glory in the highest to a God with whom nothing is impossible.

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