The tears that brimmed my eyes surprised me as I thought of my beautiful Baby S beginning her unsupervised longer visits with her birth parents and extended family members. I rejoiced that I no longer had to sit at a food court in the mall for hours, but I actually enjoyed that alone time reading, writing, praying, or even visiting with friends. A friendship also bloomed between the birth parents and me as we saw each other so often and had many opportunities to chat. Birth mom began confiding in me. How sweet that God would provide this special relationship we have where I could be a listening ear and an encourager to this family working for their second chance to provide a safe home for their baby girl.
But my thoughts quickly fast-forwarded to a day in the near or far future when Baby S would leave us. A few tears escaped before I blinked back the rest and silenced those thoughts. Is this not what we are all working towards? Yes, a thousand times yes!
And yet my heart still begins to break as impending loss looms. It may still take months so I push away my sadness.
THIS is why we celebrate Christmas. God gave us His Son, first as a perfect baby gift to the world, born in a nondescript barn on the side of an inn with no vacancy. Why? To give us a second chance…or a third or even more.
“And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7
I mess up constantly as I am born in sin, but He picks me back up as I repent and sends me on my way, reminding me to keep His commandments and live. Reminding you and me. Jesus doesn’t shake His sandals at us nor allow us to stay wallowing in the mud of our filth. Paul, a venomous man bent on persecuting and putting Christians to death, was brought to his knees by Jesus speaking to him on the road to Damascus. He wasn’t even considered a “seeker” by any means, but God pursued him and changed his heart into one of an earnest man who could then send this message of encouragement to fellow believers:
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6
Wow! A Christian-killer turned Christian-encourager and evangelist?! Yes, I am confident that our baby’s birth parents are being refined by Christ during this time apart from their baby. They are working hard to make things right and the love they have for their daughter is apparent. I smile when I see them interact with her during our many visits as they delight in her presence. I will love and encourage them to keep seeking God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength.
The toys we received as Christmas gifts from our foster agency I sent home with her dad when I saw him this morning. He got to experience the excitement of unpackaging the new toys to share with his 10-month-old baby girl and heard her giggles as she played with them. Her first Christmas. A second chance. We will continue to pray for a smooth journey on their family’s road to reunification. This is the original intent of foster care.
“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
Jesus Christ was born so that we all may have new life when we believe in Him, turn from our old sinful way of life, and live for Him. We catch a glimpse of Easter, when He sacrificed His perfect life to save ours. What joy and peace He brings! God’s greatest gift to all mankind…reconciliation.
The heart of Christmas.