Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as a Human Resources Specialist.
I love that at the heart of our faith is a story of adoption. Joseph took on the role of fathering Jesus, even though he wasn’t his biological son. It was Joseph who kissed the boy’s scraped knee, who worked all day to provide for Jesus’ needs, and who taught him the lessons of life and what it meant to be a godly man. He chose to help raise the Messiah. Not exactly a wimpy undertaking!
There is something beautiful about Joseph’s decision to raise Jesus as his son. I imagine the struggles that he must have felt – “Can I do this? What if he doesn’t love me like a dad? Do I have what it takes to be his dad? Will he ever see me as his father? Will he always compare me to his actual father?”
I’m sure that Joseph had these or similar thoughts, because these are the same thoughts I had when we first fostered our son. Isaac came to live with us when he was 10. We had no other children, so I was very new to figuring out the whole mothering thing, let alone mothering a child who has had a complex, messy life.
I was completely overwhelmed by the process. I felt inadequate and awkward, making things up as I went along, just trying to do my best. Sometimes I got it right, and then other times I was a complete failure of a mom. But even through my deficiencies, God kept molding us together as a family. And I always knew he was calling me into this role to raise this child as my own. I’ll admit that there were days of exhaustion and tears, and this calling was the only thing that kept me going.
But then I think of where we are today. Our family is getting ready to celebrate four years since the day we became official, the day we adopted Isaac. I reflect back on these four years and all of what God has done in and through our son, my husband, and me. We’ve all grown and changed through this journey, and I’m ever so grateful for the opportunity to be Isaac’s mom. I don’t think of Isaac as my adoptive son. He’s just my son. Period. And I pray every day that he’ll know how much he is loved, by his family and by God.
In the end, I bet that is what Joseph felt too. I’m sure that there were plenty of times when it was a challenge to raise Jesus (talk about a know-it-all kid!), but I also believe that he felt an abundance of joy in being Jesus’ daddy. And more than anything, I’m sure that Joseph wanted Jesus to know his love of father and how that reflects the love of his heavenly Father.
Perhaps you might consider how you might be called to foster or adopt. There are many kids waiting for forever homes right now. Maybe that home is yours.
Check out opportunities in Kansas: https://www.adoptkskids.org/children/
Across the United States: http://www.adoptuskids.org/
And if you aren’t called to be that home, consider giving to the Resurrection Christmas Eve offering, where 100% of the funds go to those in need. Half of those funds will go to helping kids who are aging out of the foster system, meaning they were never part of a permanent family. Even if you are not called as Joseph was, to be an adoptive parent, my hope is that we can all experience the joy of pouring into the lives of these children. All of these kids need to know and experience the love of Father. We have a chance to share this love with them in tangible ways by giving this Christmas Eve!
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.