Summary: An adaptation of another contributor, with personal applications and illustations
The Adoption that Changed the World Matthew 1:18-25
Christmas changed in a hurry for Mike and Tiffany Bailey from one year to the next. In 2001, their neat house with the white picket fence was fairly quiet. Like all of their past Christmas seasons, Mike and Tiffany had gone to parties, exchanged gifts, attended family get-togethers, and prayed for children of their own. The years had gone by, and it was obvious that children weren’t going to come by the natural way. Therefore, they pursued adoption. As Christmas approached in 2002, it seemed as though adoption pursued them. The call came, and the voice on the other end of the line said the Bailey’s could now have their family, if they really wanted it.“A child for us?” they asked excitedly. “No, children for you.” “How many?” they asked. “Five,” came the answer.“Five?”
They talked about it, laughed about it, and soon traveled to the foster home that had their instant family waiting on them. Bethany was waiting. So was Elizabeth. Sonny, Marie and Suzette were also waiting. All five of these small children looked at the couple from Fort Valley, Georgia, and the Bailey’s looked at them. The smiles were instantaneous, and it was no time at all before the children called her mom, and him, papa. When they arrived home, Mike and Tiffany had a completely different lifestyle. There were clothes to buy, meals to prepare, cheeks to kiss, boys to wrestle, rules to learn, and games to be played. At this point, every moment Mike and Tiffany have seems to be devoted to learning how to be parents, five children at the time. Can you imagine what it must have been like to have adopted 5 children into your home- all at once?
It might be an understatement, but the Christmas of 2002 was radically different from anything this Mike and Tiffany had ever known before. Adoption changed everything!Another understatement? The adoption of Christmas is an adoption that changed the world. When we read the Christmas story from Luke 2, we get the story from Mary’s point of view. The other account, the record of events found in Matthew 1, is the story of Christmas from Joseph’s eyes. And that story is a story of adoption. Joseph had nothing to do with the biological creation of this child, and yet he took Mary as his wife, and the child she carried as his own. Need evidence that Joseph wasn’t the father of the child? He was certain that he wasn’t the father, and therefore Joseph was willing to divorce the woman he dearly loved. He was crushed by the news. He was surprised and shocked, ready to take an action that would hurt Mary, hurt her family, hurt him, and hurt his family. This was no casual pain. These words were originally spoken with bitter, acid-like tears. The story comes from what must have been a very restless night.
Scripture: Matthew 1:18-25 (read last verse)
Did you notice the last sentence? “And he gave him the name Jesus.” Literally, Joseph gave the baby his name. The angel had commanded it, and the angel had asked Joseph, as the adoptive father, to give the name. After his midnight encounter with the messenger from God, Joseph took this child in his heart and became his earthly father. As an adoptive father would do, he even had the privilege of speaking the child’s name in public, the very first time it was heard. He took this child from God, and made it his own!
This, then, is the adoption of Christmas. It is also an illustration of what happens to us, when we are adopted into God’s family by faith in Jesus Christ. In three separate passages, the New Testament uses the adoption analogy to talk about you and me. We’re “adopted,” so to speak, into God’s kingdom when we accept Jesus as our Savior. Ephesians 1:4-5 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will …Romans 8:23 … we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. Do you realize what this means? God, our Father, adopts us the way any great adoptive father would. Like Joseph, God is ready to give you certain things as a part of His family. Consider the wonderful concept of your adoption into God’s family.
I. Every adoption has a foundation of love. When Joseph accepted Jesus as his own child, he gave the child a foundation of love. There’s not a lot said about Joseph beyond the Christmas story, but we get that important glimpse from Luke 2:48, when Mary and Joseph finally found 12-year-old Jesus, who had stayed behind at the Temple, where he was teaching. Mary said it this way, “Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.” It had been a private torture for Mary … and Joseph, for both adults loved the child as their own. Joseph loved this boy. Joseph kept nothing back. The moment you have a child, your heart goes out, you just hand it over, and there’s no other feeling like it. You prepare for it nine months. You wait on that moment, you pray about it, but when the moment comes and you hold that child, your heart leaves your chest, and goes to this child as if it were a gift waiting to be opened. There’s nothing like it in the whole world! You can’t help it. John 3:16 tells us that love was the motivation, the catalyst, for the entire act of salvation. “God loved you so much, he gave his son for you” There is no greater love, and all that love was focused on you, the child God wanted to adopt.