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One Orphan’s Christmas Wish
By Kinsey Thurlow on December 4th, 2012

I looked around at the circle of kindergartners who sat before me, each eagerly waiting their turn to voice their Christmas wishes. I selected Max to go next. “And what would you like for Christmas this year, Max?” His little chipmunk face became very solemn, and with utmost seriousness, he looked me straight in the eye and loudly whispered, “A sword.”

“Wow!” I said softly in awe. “That would be a pretty amazing gift.” Next I turned to Michael, a new child in my class who had just been placed into a new foster home. Though all of the children in my class came from impoverished homes, I knew Michael was the poorest of all. At five years old, he was without a mother or father, without a family, and in his mind, without an identity. What would this little boy request as a Christmas gift? My heart ached even to ask him, because I knew that within his own heart, he was crying for so many things. When I looked into his timid brown eyes, I could hear his silent cries to be wanted, to be loved, and to belong.

“Michael, what would you like to received for Christmas?” He rocked back and forth for a few seconds. With eyes glued to the carpet, he responded, “A Christmas tree.”

I thought about how small a request this was. But then I began to think about his other desires that he hadn’t voiced in our kindergarten circle. The desire for a mother and a father. The desire to simply be loved. As I considered these longings in Michael’s heart, I realized that just as the Christmas tree seemed so little to ask for, neither are these such tremendous requests. Michael should have a mother and a father, and it was an injustice to him that he did not have either.

As I now consider the aches within Michael’s heart, I remember the words Jesus spoke as His time for death drew nearer. “I will not leave you as orphans,” He promised. The Lord isn’t unaware of the plight of the orphans and the desperate longings that cry out from within their hearts. In speaking this promise, He was saying, “You are not unwanted. You are not unloved. You are not alone. You are meant to belong to the Father.” With passionate intent, Jesus went to the cross so that we, orphaned as we were, may be brought into the embrace of the Father.

Before the foundation of the world, adoption stirred within the Father’s heart, and He marked us with the destiny to be brought into His own family through Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:4-5). Thus, Jesus descended to earth in the humility of a baby’s frame. And through this small baby, the Father addressed every lie we’ve ever believed about ourselves. Where we’ve felt devalued, passed over, and unloved, the Father declares through His son, “You are chosen, valuable, and worthy of love.” When we look at this tender Child, we see a God who has come near and has withheld nothing from us.

As we stare into the eyes of this baby, and behold a love that has come so close to us, may we marvel at the awe and beauty of our own adoption stories. And as we lean into the embrace of our Father, who has made us His own, I pray many of us will be compelled to imitate the very expression of this love that has been lavished upon us—that we would likewise embrace the fatherless, ones like Michael, and give them a new name of Son and Daughter.

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