Christmas, Orphan Care, and the Gospel
Christmas is the story of a good Father going to extravagant lengths to adopt those who were once separated from Him. It is the celebration of God seeing the plight of His people and responding with the greatest gift of love this world has ever known - Jesus. God put on flesh and became one of us - entering the darkness and brokenness of our story to bring us a brighter and better one in Him. This is Christmas.
The apostle Paul puts it this way: "When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." (Galatians 4:4-5)
In other words, before the foundation of the universe, God had appointed a specific time in which He would take on flesh and enter the brokenness of humanity [When the set time had fully come]. He would arrive in the form of a baby [God sent His Son], being born in humility, in poverty and obscurity so that He might bring glory to the empty and belonging to the lonely. Generations of prophets would testify that a virgin girl [born of a woman] would miraculously conceive a divine baby and give birth in an insignificant town surrounded by unassuming people. The meaning of His name, Jesus, would define His mission, God saves, so He would not sit on a throne but rather lie in a manger, placing Himself beneath the rule of judgment over us in order to rescue and redeem us out from under it [to redeem those under the law]. The end goal of His rescue mission was clear - to bring into the family of God those who had been tragically orphaned in their sin - us [that we might receive adoption to sonship].
GOD IN OUR STORY
Scripture says that Jesus is God with us (Matthew 1:23), that He became a man to dwell among us (John 1:14), that He took our sin upon Himself (2 Corinthians 5:21) by embracing the poverty of our depravity and replacing it with the riches of His glory (2 Corinthians 8:9). Christmas is the recognition that God has not loved us from a distance, but has dwelt among us in Jesus and engaged with us in our sin. He pulled us out of our broken story by first humbly being pulled into it on that silent, holy night. This is Christmas, the great exchange of the Gospel - Jesus stepping out of glory into our story so that our story could be filled with His glory - a new story filled with hope and life replacing the emptiness and despair of an old one.
At Christmas, we remember the lengths God has gone to call us His sons and His daughters - that in Jesus He interceded on our behalf to make us His own. He thrust Himself fully into the brokenness of our plight to receive us unconditionally into His forever family. We celebrate that our good and loving and gracious Father laid the infinite value of His life down as a baby so we may know the immeasurable worth of being unconditionally loved and accepted as His children. This is Christmas.
In light of Christmas, our care of orphans begins not with the child out there who needs a home but with the child in us who has been given one in Jesus. The Gospel of our adoption, making its vivid debut on that night in Bethlehem, now compels us to see the plight of the orphan and respond with the greatest gift of love this world has ever known - Jesus. Orphan care is just as much about pulling a child out of a broken story as it is about you being pulled into one. It begins with our willingness to step foot into the darkness, not just to rescue a child out of it but to bring light into it. That's what Jesus did for us, so that’s what we must do for these children. We have been extravagantly loved, so we love; graciously rescued, so we rescue; interceded on behalf of, so we intercede on behalf of them - and in so doing, find ourselves broken over the brokenness of another and realizing in newer and fuller ways that this is in fact the way Jesus has loved us.