by Stephen Story
At the end of The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis writes, “The reason why we loved the old Narnia so much is because it sometimes looked a little like this.” The idea he captures is that God often uses the the things of this life to point us to the life that is to come. A temporal experience reflects an eternal reality. Adoption is one such experience.
Here are three ways that the adoption of a child points us to greater truths revealed in Christmas.
1. A longing fulfilled
Any adoptive parent can testify that one of the most difficult parts of the adoption process is “the wait.” It’s one of the few experiences that nearly every adoption has in common. “I had no idea how hard the wait would be,” one waiting adoptive mom recently said to me. The wait for your child to come home. The wait for legal proceedings to play out. The wait to hear a judge declare that this child is officially and forever a part of your family.
Behind “the wait” is a longing that has only one fulfillment; there is no substitute for its object. The day this longing is fulfilled is one of the most joyous days an adoptive parent will experience.
This theme of a longing being fulfilled is central to the nativity. Before Messiah was born God’s people had waited thousands of years since the first promise of a redeemer in Genesis 3, and most immediately had endured 400 “silent years” with no word from God.
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
This is where we find Simeon, a man who was “righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). And then, in God’s sovereign plan, “the fullness of time had come” (Galatians 4:4) and the wait was over. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
The wait of every adoption points to the wait that has now ended: the Savior has been born! And it reminds us that we are now waiting for the fulfillment of a second promise, “I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:3).
2. Restoring what is broken
In a sinless world there would be no need for adoption. Adoption exists only because brokenness exists. Sin’s devastating effects reach everywhere, and children are often casualties of the fallout. God’s ideal design is for children to be safe and secure with a mom and a dad who are able to shepherd them into adulthood while teaching them to follow Christ.
In our shattered world that experience is sadly out of reach for many, but adoption can be one means of restoring the hope of a family. Most of the children who pass through Covenant Care would not enjoy the blessing of two-parent, Christ-centered home were it not for adoption.
Similarly, adoption is the means that God uses to restore us to his family. When sin entered the world, God’s family was broken and scattered. But God’s work on behalf of his people has always displayed his heart to redeem what is broken. “The LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you” (Deuteronomy 30:3). “He shall be to you a restorer of life” (Ruth 4:15).
The ultimate restoration of God’s family hinges on the story of Christmas. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people” (Luke 1:68). “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
3. All eyes look to the child
Covenant Care is very intentional about serving all three parties of the adoption triad with excellence — child, adoptive parents, and birth parents. There would be no adoption were it not for each of these three distinct groups of people. Each member of the triad has their own particular needs and experiences as it relates to adoption. Yet there’s no denying that, on adoption day, it’s all about the child.
A birthmom weighs her options and chooses adoption because it is best for her child. Adoptive parents want to serve those in need by welcoming a child into their family. And when the day comes for an adoption placement to happen, all eyes turn toward the child.
In a much greater way, Christmas is all about the child.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given […] and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark, the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
As we think back on a year of adoption ministry that is drawing to a close, and as we anticipate the year to come, may every adoption point us to Christ.
Have a blessed Christmas worshiping the newborn King!
This Christmas, will you donate to offer the hope of adoption?