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Friday, November 30, 2012

Forgotten Friday's: Welcoming Jesus

The first time I preached after we welcomed our children into our home, it was during the Advent Season. I mentioned to my husband in passing how I related to Mary in a totally different context, not just as a first-time mom, but as a foster mom, and he asked me to expound on that in the pulpit.

Honestly, I found her story anew because I was a special kind of desperate. In the early months of fostering these three special and beautiful children-Tabbitha, Heather, and Ty-I felt overwhelmed, unprepared, and even panicked from time to time. Foster care can be an extremely lonely and frustrating venture, so I went looking to God's Word for the encouragement and motivation to keep persevering in the sacred task of rebuilding little lives caught in the devastation this fallen world has to offer.
I found hope in a most unexpected place: the Innkeeper's Stable.

As I revisited that timeless tale filled with promise and hope for all God's people, His presence assured me that I truly wasn't alone: God chose Mary to mother Jesus, and I found fellowship in her story-a young mom who probably spent most of her days with an acute awareness of her sinful heart as she fostered Jesus.

Sounds familiar.

Only for her, it was much more complicated as the child in her care was PERFECT.

Mary did not go looking for a great big assignment from her Creator. In fact, she had her own plans and dreams when God interrupted her life with one visit from a special messenger. Mary represented EveryWoman, and gave depth to the belief that all people, including those who are poor in spirit (like me) could host the Son of God in their hearts, and maybe even their homes.

The last two years have taught our family so much, but the greatest lesson of all? Letting love open the door of our home and our hearts has been such a means of grace to us. We have seen Jesus eat at our table. He has given us sticky kisses, and His laughter has echoed down our halls.

I still have moments of doubt and fear even as we look forward to our Gotcha Day in January. God is so faithful to remind me of another player in the story of Jesus' birth-the Innkeeper...the owner of that Middle Eastern Motel. Remember him? The guy didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for the pregnant lady!

He couldn't figure out a way to make room for a chance to entertain the One who lived and breathed redemption's song.

What he missed.

What I would miss if I hadn't made room or found margin in my life for Jesus and all the ways He comes to me. The most prominent way is through our children and as He promised in Matthew 25, when we care for them, we are really tending to Jesus. There is no greater joy than to look into their eyes and see that God is near.

God used a young foster mom to help orchestrate the most blessed event in History, as she welcomed Emmanuel, God With Us.

Two thousand years later, we can either act like that innkeeper-finding no space for Him, or like Mary, who opened her whole life as an invitation for Him to dwell.
The promise is real, and the forgotten ones are waiting to bring us nearer to the heart of the Most High.

"Whoever welcomes a child like this in My name welcomes Me."

Lauren Alexander is a storyteller, preacher’s wife, and mama passionate about foster care advocacy. She lives for finding victory through the pages of Scripture + dancing with her babies. Read more about The A* Team's adventures at www.ateamfamily.com

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