Thursday, December 13, 2012

Joseph Listened

Ken, Denise,
Matthew and Elizabeth
God reminds me of another of his Christmas gifts—my adoption. No, my parents didn’t adopt me. I was born into their family; they gave me my name; they provided my first identity; they raised me—I was their child.

As a late teen I was given another name—my adopted name, child of God, a new identity, and a new purpose. God now relates to me differently. He is my Father; I am his child. That could have never happened unless Jesus had been born. And that could have never happened unless Jesus had gone to the cross in my place. God sees me through the lens of Jesus’ life and death; he sees his adopted daughter. 
Precious In His Sight, Greg Olsen

With my adoption, I’m given a new name.                      
With my adoption, I’m given a new family.
With my adoption, I’m given a new identity.
With my adoption, I’m given a new care-giver.
With my adoption, I’m given a new invitation.
      I love Jesus' words, "Let the children come to me"
With my adoption, I’m given a new purpose.

Jesus, the son of God, was also adopted. Like me, he had an earthly father, Joseph.

Danny and Angie introducing
their sons to the wonders of s
southern CA
Joseph listened to God. He heard from an angel that his betrothed, Mary, was pregnant. (According to the custom of the day, Joseph and Mary had a legally binding contract; sexual unfaithfulness was considered adultery. Mary faced the death penalty.) Thankfully, the word of God, coming to Joseph through a dream, was more impactful than the culture Joseph and Mary lived in. Later in Matthew 2, it is recorded two additional times when God spoke to Joseph in his dreams. Each time Joseph listened to God and obeyed.

Because Joseph listened and obeyed, Joseph was Jesus’ earthly father. In a sense, Joseph adopted Jesus. He provided for him; he raised him as a devout Jew; he taught him his carpentry skills; he cared for him; he worried about him; he gave him an earthly family—brothers and sisters.

Gina and Jason and their kids

Joseph gave us an amazing gift because he listened to God. He models adoption. I am so thankful for my earthly family. And I am so thankful to be adopted into God's family, to share his name, to enjoy his purposes.

Eric and Loretta and their fam

Although any human illustration of spiritual truth is limited, I've included pictures of some of our friends who listened to God as he whispered in their ears about adoption. These friends  welcomed children into their homes. They gave them new names; a new family; a new identity; a new future; and new customs as they celebrate Christmas. I am so thankful for my friends, who like Joseph, listened to God and adopted children.

"What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it - we're called children of God! That's who we really are".
I John 3:1, The Message

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