Two thousand years ago, God became man. His birth was what J. R. Tolkien called “the eucatastrophe of human history.” Eucatastrophe is Tolkien’s word for a sudden joyous turn in a story that looks as though it’s all going hopelessly wrong.The presence of God with His people was a sudden, unexpected, world-altering joy in a world that was brim-full of sadness, anger, loss, and hate. So much sorrow…then God. With us.
I think that’s why I love Christmas so much. It pushes me to think hard about a God who is not far away, but near, so near. Near enough that a woman, like me, once held him in her arms and loved him the way I hold and love my son. Near enough that He reaches out and holds my right hand. Near enough that every tear that falls from my eyes is caught in His bottle and written in His book. Every last tear.
The psalmist said, “It is good to be near God” (Psalm 73:28). Before Christ, the Old Testament saints could draw near to the temple, reach out in prayer, call up to the God of heaven. In Christ, God has come to us- taken it upon Himself to close the gap between finite and divine, given us His nearness through the gift of His presence. It is so unspeakably good to have a God who is with us, Who will never leave us.
Adoption can take you to some dark and difficult places, especially at Christmas. But we are not alone. God sent His son on a lonely night into a sin-sick world so that we never ever be alone again.
Our son arrived home six weeks ago. We are giving thanks that he is home this Christmas. We are grieving that he spent so many Christmases in hard places. We are growing slowly but surely into a family.
This is the Christmas gift we want to give him. This knowledge that he is not alone. That there is a God who burst into human history and changed everything. That this God has not forsaken him. He needs to hear that message over and over and over, until it sinks into his heart, etches itself into his soul. He is loved, chosen, wanted by the King of Kings, and the Baby King in a manager gives us chance after chance to tell him these truths.
The holidays are not an easy time to add a child to your family, but the Christmas story is what our son needs to hear. Not just this Christmas season, but day after day after day.
And it’s what I need to hear. On the days when adoption stretches me in ways I thought I could never stretch, tears at me in ways that ache worse than I ever imagined, I need to remember that I am not alone. God is with us. With me.
Joy to the world indeed.