Hosting Reflection #26–Living Out the Meaning of Christmas

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Christmas. What is it all about? It’s that time of year when we celebrate Christ’s birth.  We share our thankfulness that God gave him to us as the ultimate gift, so that we could find peace with God. Jesus willingly came to earth as a King in disguise, without the honor, dignity, respect, accolades that he was due… all for us.

And what does Christmas look like for us?  We receive gifts from family and friends, and give them in return.  Observe annual traditions of decorating, celebrating, and feasting.  We go to church and thank God for giving Jesus to us.

Sometimes I wonder what God thinks of all of this. Of course, I am no where near His awesome omniscience, omnipotence, majesty, mercy, grace, and love… but I still wonder about it.  What does He think when He sees what we have made of Christmas?  I am sure He is glad we recognize and celebrate Christ’s birth. I imagine that He likes to see our time together with our loved ones. “He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23b) But does He ever yearn for us to do a little more?

Christmas is about Christ’s humility, ultimate sacrifice, and unending love.  What can we learn from that and bring into our Christmas celebrations?  What could we do to reflect that in our lives? What if we made Christ and His desires the center of our holiday traditions?

There are so many things that could become new family traditions that redirect the focus of Christmas back to Christ… Invite a needy family to your Christmas dinner, have your children buy gifts for a toy drive instead of for each other, lead your Bible study in volunteering at a homeless shelter on Christmas Eve, rather than spending money on family gifts put the money towards a family missions trip, invite the widow in your neighborhood to spend Christmas morning with your family, and of course the one nearest to my heart, share your Christmas with an orphan who is hungry for the love of a family and the love of God.

What a way to change the perspective of your Christmas, by welcoming a child into your home all in the name of Christ’s love.  It may mean giving up some of your traditions, some of your usual pleasures, some of your comfort… but that is exactly what Christ did for us. 

Can you just imagine God’s great delight to see you and your family honoring Him by giving your Christmas away out of love for an orphan?

Let me tell you, it is such a joy to know that your willingness to share your Christmas with a child who probably never imagined spending a holiday with a family.  Every moment is a gift.  Every time you look at them, it is a reminder of God’s goodness. Every bit of love you share is a reminder of how much Jesus loves us. And every bit of love you receive back from them is just a little taste of the immense joy God must feel when He knows we love Him!

There are only 2 weeks left for this year’s group of NHFC orphans to be chosen by Christmas host families. Only 14 days!  Please ask God what he would have you do this year to live out the true meaning of Christmas.

– View Waiting Children Here –


Give Christmas Away

Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.
Our firm decision is to work from this focused center: One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in his death so that everyone could also be included in his life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people ever lived on their own.
Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.
How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

 
2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (MSG)

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Learning to Embrace the Adoption Journey

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The adoption process is long.  I’m not complaining… or at least I shouldn’t be, especially considering that we’ve only been in this process for 7 months and I know people who worked for 3+ years on an international adoption.  I’m just saying that it’s one of those things that you can’t make happen instantaneously.  Sometimes I wished it would happen instantaneously, but lately my perspective has changed.

I still want Sasha home more than anything.  Especially when I hear him say “Ya hochu uvidet tebya” (“I want to see you”) every time that we talk on the phone.  HeI LOVE when this photo pops up with a new message on my computer! is longing to be with us so badly.   And in those moments, I’ve started to think that this will not last forever.

We will not be in this adoption limbo decades, years, or even a few months from now.  This stage in our lives will be ending soon.  Things are going to change.  And that, in a strange way, makes me want to cherish the way things are right now.

I think of all the things that will soon be memories of the past:

  • Only being able to talk to Sasha once a week for 20 minutes
  • The joy of hearing his voice when he answers the phone… knowing you made a successful call overseas
  • Conversations filled with “what?” “repeat slowly…” “I am sorry, I do not understand” in Russian
  • Sasha’s sweet voice replying “It is ok” in English when he knows we cannot understand each other
  • Cherishing every spontaneous “I miss you” text message from him
  • Facebook-stalking every person and organization we know who might have seen Sasha, talked to him, spent time with him, or gotten a picture of him
  • Using the awesome “Recharge Your Lady’s Mobile Phone in Ukraine” website to re-charge his Ukrainian cell phone
  • Brainstorming ideas of how to decorate his bedroom, who will help translate, how to help him get ready for school, what new activities we can share with him
  • Frustrations and victories of trying to raise $25,000
  • Daily prayers that God will keep him safe and provide a way to bring him home soon

And when I think all these things will soon come to an end… my heart stops for a split-second.  My head spins.  This is all really happening. 

Suddenly, I no longer want to wish away these days of longing and anticipation.  These days of curves along our journey and raw emotions.  I want to embrace them for everything they are worth.  These are sacred moments.  I do not want them to slip by without any memory of them.

One day, I will be able to sit with Sasha, hold an English conversation with him, and give him a huge hug around his neck.  One day, we will have more photos of him than our albums can even hold.  One day, we will be telling him it’s time he pays for his own cell phone.  One day, we will be looking back with grateful hearts to all those who helped us fund our way for him to come home.  One day, we will be praising God for his faithfulness to bring our lost brother and son home. 

But for now, I will embrace today.    Even with all its frustration, anticipation, and deep longing.  I thank God for bringing us this far and I know He values every moment and so I will live to do the same.

…He delights in every detail of their lives.
Psalm 37:23b (NLT)

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