No matter your spiritual beliefs, the Christmas Story provides a beautiful parallel for foster and adoptive parents, or really any of us who seek to love someone challenging.
The Manger we sing about represents humility; the idea that a perfect God would enter an imperfect world. This God landed himself in a too-crowded city among a people suffering with political oppression so that a barn and a trough were all his parents could offer. The Christian idea is that to save the world, Jesus had to enter it and experience it; not as a prince but as a suffering, mortal human. We too must be humbled to effectively enter into the lives of hurting people living in difficult circumstances. We hope, somehow, to help people in a way that does not disrupt our lives and our comfort, but the truth is, this just isn’t possible. When we consider those who have helped us, it is not without cost, discomfort or sacrifice. The more hurt someone is, the bigger the cost of loving them.
After Christmas comes the story of Jesus’ death, which we honor at Easter. This is the part of the story where this humble God gets even more sacrificial, and allows himself to be killed to pay for the world’s sin and brokenness. Have you ever observed someone die to their own comfort and desires to love someone else? I am not talking about a doormat who just rolls over for everyone else’s desires, but someone who chooses to let go of something, without bitterness or self-righteousness, to give the person they love something they need?
The good news is that it is not all pain. Resurrection and restoration are the final themes of this Christian story that starts at Christmas. As Psalm 30:5 says, “Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning!” If you are in the dark night of loving someone sacrificially remember: this kind of love is beautiful and restorative. Have hope! This is the true gift of Christmas!
During this season of giving, it always feels good to give gifts to those in need. However, doing the sorts of things that brings about real healing in people’s lives is no easy task. Currently, there is “no room at the inn” for many foster children and youth in our community. If you think there are plenty of people taking care of kids needing family-based care, you are wrong. There are not enough families, couples or individuals responding to this critical call. This holiday season, our foster families are working hard to maximize their resources for children, and our Social Workers and Rehabilitation Specialists are getting creative and working overtime to make room where there isn’t room. Count the cost; assess your resources. Are you being called to foster parent in some capacity? If so, don’t wait! The need is great—respond. It is not easy; it will disrupt your life. But foster parenting, while requiring sacrifice, leads to true resurrection and restoration. Take it from me, you will be blessed to be a part of this restoration journey.
For more information on foster parenting, please call Janaan Miles at (805) 781-3535 or visit FCNI.org