Something Amazing Happened When Jesus and I Exchanged Gifts Last Christmas

It’s been one year today.

For three months, I had been moping around, grieving the death of a dream to adopt from Haiti. Nathan had been trying in his own gentle ways to point me toward foster care and domestic adoption. But I was resistant.

I didn’t think I could open my home and my heart to that kind of potential heartache. All the unknowns. All the problems. All the complications. All about me.

But as last November crept up on December, God began to knock. And when I cracked open the door, He blew right in.

Nathan had requested an information packet about foster care and adoption from the Department of Human Resources the August before. It collected dust for a few months as I clung tightly to my reasons for not filling out the application.

At one point, I finally threw it away.

Forgotten and dismissed, I plunged into the Christmas season with no idea that it was going to make its way right back into our home.

As the first week of December came and went, I began to consider what gift our family would give to Jesus for His birthday. Usually it’s monetary. A lump sum to foreign missions, presents for needy families in the area, or some other endeavor that involves making His name known or giving to the least of these. We were still tossing around ideas when an application to foster/adopt through the state showed up in our mailbox. Unrequested.

One year ago today, chills covered my body when I saw the manila envelope in Nathan’s hands. In that same moment, I heard Christ whisper, “This is what I want for Christmas.” And my soul shifted.

He was asking me to say yes to foster care. Asking for the gift of my trust and this home and our future. He wanted what He always wants. My willingness to follow Him anywhere, into any unknown, with only Him as my Shepherd.

A year ago today, I gave Jesus exactly what He asked for and said yes to foster care. We didn’t lay our heads on the pillow that night until we had filled out the entire (lengthy!!!) application. When I finally snuggled under the covers, I experienced the sweetest peace knowing I was giving Jesus what He wanted for His birthday.

But how on earth could I have known that by offering that one gift to Him, He would give me 10,000 in return?

Because ya’ll, it was me who got the gift.

I got the gift of kindred spirits while traveling this rocky road with other foster parents. I got to rejoice over their placements and intercede when their hearts broke. I got deep, deep friendship.

I got the gift of water walking with Jesus. As we stepped out of the boat in every conceivable way; with our children, our finances, our future, our time, I got to hold the hand of the Master and know the satisfaction of doing what I thought humanly impossible.

I got the gift of a 5 lb. bundle of pure sweetness to hold and love and squeeze and rock. I got to pray over him at night, to feel his little body on my chest and to nuzzle his tender cheek.

I got the gift of watching my biological children dote over a new sibling. Of seeing them be proud as peacocks when others adored him. Of witnessing their growth as they gave up much and took on more to make room for this new one.

I got the gift of his first smile, his first giggle, his first crawl. I got to see his uncontainable delight when I walked in the room. I got the gift of his preference.

I got the gift of showing him off to others, of hearing them make a fuss over him, of picking him up from the nursery and taking him home with me when day is done.

I got the gift of loving him so much that I fear losing him. And the gift of knowing the love of the Father more deeply because of it.

I got the gift of his presence in our lives. I got the gift of more of His presence in my life.

But unlike the gift I gave Christ, I deserved none of it.

I didn’t give to Him to get something in return. But it just goes to show that anytime we offer something to Christ, we are the ones who benefit from it.

That gift I gave Jesus a year ago, I’m so much richer for it.

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Beth Lawrence
Beth Lawrence is a preacher's wife, mother of two and foster mother to one who loves helping other women feel less crazy while inspiring them to love Christ like crazy. You can catch up with her at her blog, Just Beth, and on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.