Read the following blog by Ignite Hope's CEO, Jacqui Jackson, about how the Christmas season brings adoption to the forefront of her thoughts!
So Christmas always undoes me...big time. The sights and sounds are right up my alley, but it’s the spirit of the thing that truly blows my mind. Years ago while praying home my firstborn, I studied and pondered Mary's love for Jesus, for as a woman with a heart for children, my connection to her felt natural and deep. Even as a little girl, this phrase in Luke 2:19 about Jesus’ birth connected deeply with me: “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” I loved and still love those words because of the image they evoke and the heart behind them. But this year, after a year living in the space of vulnerable children, absentee fathers, waiting parents, and foster placements, I was really moved to study what Scripture says about dads, specifically about what it means to be a good father. That's a really hard concept for some kids (and adults) to wrap their heads around, and this is for good reason, for fatherhood is a big task. God's ideal for fatherhood was clear, and He chose an earthly example in Joseph, a man of obedience, faith, and character, to become Baby Jesus' dad. More specifically, He chose Joseph to be Jesus’ adoptive daddy. The other day I was sitting in church and feeling like a hot mess because we had just completed the marathon of dropping off four kids in four classrooms in two different environments and then racing into what I used to call "big church" for an hour of peace and truth. I was attempting to regroup and relax, so I just let the music wash over me. One of my current favorite worship songs is “Good, Good Father.” I hear it, I cry, and I beg the Father to be just that for all those children who don't yet have an earthly example of fatherhood and who may never experience that. As we sang, I just started picturing Joseph. He was faithful, prayerful, and humble. He was willing to listen to truth over cultural wisdom and mores. He was willing to love past the point of comfort and tradition. He was willing to embrace the gifts God had given in the form of Jesus, even if it was not a part of his own plan. As I listened to the song and pictured this man, I remembered a previous study I had done on Luke. In the first chapter, God outlines an astonishing Christmas promise! The traditional well-known "Christmas Story” always starts in Luke 2, but please take a minute and camp with me here. Back your reading up a few lines to Luke 1:26-27, which states, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.” The prophetic passages in the Old Testament in books like Isaiah and Jeremiah state that the Messiah will be in the line of David. And this prophecy was fulfilled via Joseph. Joseph is specifically listed in Scripture as being a descendant of David. Joseph had a huge choice to make. Would he father a child that was not biologically his, or would he leave Mary and her son to fend for themselves? He chose to accept the mantle of fatherhood, although it descended upon him in a way he never considered, although it was without the bloodline connection that was a priority for most in his culture, and although his wife-to-be was pregnant before they wed. There were so many things to weigh and consider, but at the end of the day, Joseph chose to parent. He chose to pour into, raise up, encourage, and love a child that was not of his own blood, but of God's own design. He is the clearest example of an adoptive daddy that we have in Scripture, and this example was given surrounding God's own Son. The design was purposeful and pure; it was not culture-approved or convenient. Joseph chose to be a Good Father, to the Son, by adopting the Baby as his own child, fulfilling the prophecy and filling the world. Merry Christmas and thank you to good fathers everywhere.