November is National Adoption Month. Even though this is the last day of November, Advent is now underway, and I think there is a clear link between the two.
During the service a couple of Sundays ago, my wife and I shared a bit of our foster/adoption story (see the video below). Last Sunday I started re-reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Advent devotional, and the first paragraph of the first day’s reading connects Christ’s coming with Christ’s demands to love the most vulnerable among us. It reads:
Jesus stands at the door knocking (Rev. 3:20). In total reality, he comes in the form of the beggar, of the dissolute human child in ragged clothes, asking for help. He confronts you in every person that you meet. As long as there are people, Christ will walk the earth as your neighbor, as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you, makes demands on you. That is the great seriousness and great blessedness of the Advent message. Christ is standing at the door; he lives in the form of a human being among us. Do you want to close the door or open it?
Advent is about adoption. The three kids that Lindsey and I have fostered this year came to us “dissolute” and “in need of help.” Christ came to us a child, even though we were the ones in need of the help. This is humbling and convicting, wonderful and amazing. Foster care, adoption or fostering-to-adopt are not easy roads. But neither was the road to Bethlehem. Neither was the road to Golgotha. But our ability to cry “Father!” made it all worth it. Loving our neighbor is not easy but it is our calling. “Christ is standing at the door . . .” And believe me, I know the fear that comes with opening that door. It is scary and it is easy to doubt God’s goodness in the face of so much uncertainty, heartache and discomfort. But Advent and Christmas show us a way beyond fear. Dying to ourselves is not something to fear, for dying is exactly what Jesus came to do and to do away with. As Athanasius said, “For the race of men had gone to ruin, had not the Lord and Saviour of all, the Son of God, come among us to meet the end of death.”
Please be praying for foster and adoptive families that you know. And be praying about how God would have you open the door at which he knocks. If you’re interested in learning more about adoption, you can visit our adoption page.