My friends had a court date to finalize the adoption of their beautiful little girl. The judge looked over the docket and decided that he was going to take care of this case first. So, criminals waiting for sentencing or other motions on their case sat in the courtroom while the judge looked over the adoption papers. Then he began reading a report and his smile turned to a frown until it progressed to anger. “I can’t put a child in this house,” he blurted out. “The father has a record a mile long!” The father to be, about 5’10”, 150 pounds, red headed Irish background, looked at the judge and said, “Your honor, we’ve had this mistake before. Would you please look at the physical description of the man with the record?” The judge saw the mug shot of the 6’2, 220 pound black man, and then looked down at my friend. He smiled and said, “Ah, mistaken identity.” He then read the report about my friend and smiled. The adoption was finalized immediately and everyone in the courtroom applauded. Tears were even seen in the eyes of some of the men awaiting sentencing.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. I’ve had students sometimes deal with teasing about being adopted. I would look them in the eye and say, “I wasn’t adopted. My parents pretty much had to keep me. Think how special you are that your parents had a choice about whether or not to keep you, and they kept you. They must really love you!” I hope those words helped them. I am reminded of all this today because our passage reminds us that our relationship with God is like an adoption. “Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:23)
The first message that I get every time I read about our relationship with God being described as an adoption is the reminder that God didn’t have to love us, but He did. God has enough love for all of us that He has opened the door to adoption into His family for all people. Anyone can be a part of God’s family if they seek His grace and forgiveness. It is interesting that in some cases the Bible speaks of us as already having been adopted and in this situation it speaks of an adoption we await. But this adoption we await will bring the final orders when our physical bodies are redeemed in Heaven. The aches, pains, and imperfections of our bodies in this world will be gone as we are given our Heavenly bodies. In this season of advent, we are reminded that when Jesus returns, we will gain that redemption.
Just as Paul waited, we also must wait. While we wait, we have a job to do. We need more brothers and sisters in our adopted family. Ever see those pictures where the new brother or sister is doting on their new family member because of the excitement? Whenever a new brother or sister is adopted into our Christian family, we should experience the same excitement. That won’t happen unless we share the good news of Jesus. During this season, people are often more open to hearing about Jesus. Perhaps they’re tired of the commercialism of Christmas. Like Linus, we can then tell them what Christmas is really about. Perhaps they’re excited and overjoyed by all the lights, decoration, and the feeling of good will. We can remind them about the God who loves them all the time even when that good will isn’t there from society. There is no wrong time to tell people about Jesus and offer them adoption into God’s family. In fact, the right time is always now.
Oh Lord, I don’t deserve to be in Your family. Yet, You know me and all of my sins and still love me. You loved me enough to bring me into Your family. Help me to share Your love and grace with people who need to know that You love them. Let my life reflect my new Father and welcome them into Your family.