(Photo courtesy: graphicstock.com)
"...You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”- Luke 2:12
As Christmas approaches, it has me reflecting on my son and what he has done for me in my life. He is a bundle of energy that brings joy to me every single day. It is absolutely amazing watching him grow up and gain new characteristics; it seems like he adds new expressions every week. I am one proud father.
I am honored to be in this role and understand the responsibility God has handed to me.
When I look into my son’s eyes I see innocence. I see a person I am responsible for raising and teaching about life. I see a child who has to discover how to live, sometimes with help from his mother and me, other times on his own.
In all my mistakes and all my brokenness, I have the task of raising a young man. I have the responsibility to teach him morals and manners. I have the role of teaching him how to treat a woman and how to raise his own kids. I have the ability to teach him from my experience.
That’s the scary part!
I am going to be honest with him about my mistakes. I am going to be truthful about my childhood. I am going to reveal to him some scars I hold that I never want him to carry. I have to in order to teach him a healthy way to live.
God gave me this child to raise well and guide him in His ways. He trusts me to do this with all my blemishes, how awesome is that!
I find redemption in my son’s face.
Imagine Mary and Joseph as they rode into Bethlehem knowing the baby given to them by God was about to come into the world. Mary, a young woman facing ridicule and possible death, recognizing she is carrying the Messiah. Joseph, a man, who has been told he will be playing the role of father to the Savior of the world. I can only think he had no clue what to expect as he watched his fiancée carrying the child of God.
The baby comes and Joseph is thrown into the role of raising the Christ child and teaching Him about life and living in the world as a man. He probably felt inadequate. He probably thought through his life and wondered why God would choose him to raise His child.
Then, I can only imagine, he looked into the eyes of the baby and found redemption as well. He knew forgiveness before the cross. He knew reconciliation before Jesus started His ministry. He knew the purpose of the child and stepped into the role with pride and a willingness to serve his Creator.
The baby was the mark of love to the world. The baby had to grow to be a man and Joseph had to set an example. He set an example of humility and service. Christ would carry those traits as God in the flesh, but the earthly father lived in his purpose to guide the young Jesus in His life.
How does this have any influence on us as a society? The innocence of children can be redemptive to all people. We have a role to raise them up in the ways of God. Teaching the morals and healthy life decisions; sharing our experiences and what we have learned in our life.
We have the opportunity to find redemption in the face of a child. Let us step into our roles whether as birth parents, adoptive parents, or even mentors serving in the life of a child without a parent figure.
May we answer our call to teach children how to live with each other in this world.