The Sunday before Christmas, Melissa James asked her Sunday School students at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to draw pictures of the Nativity. When the pictures were handed in, she saw that some of the youngsters had drawn the conventional pictures----the Holy Family and the manger, the Holy Family surrounded by shepherds, etc.
But she was confused by the drawing made by little Joshua. She called him up and asked him to explain his picture, which showed an airplane with four heads sticking out of the plane windows. She recognized Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus.....but she asked: "Joshua, who is the fourth head?"
"Oh," answered Joshua, "that's Pontius the Pilot!"
Don't you love children? They have such wonderful innocence. I remember when Natalie was four and we were visiting Chappy's parents' in South Carolina. On Sunday morning, we all went to church together. Before giving the message, the Pastor typically brings the young children down to the front row to tell them the "children's" version of the message and to ask them questions. On this particular Sunday, before Christmas, he called for the children to come down front and had a microphone in hand. He happily introduced Lydia, Natalie, and Caleb who were visiting from Tennessee and then proceeded to ask a question: "What animal did Mary ride on when she was on her way to Bethlehem to give birth to Baby Jesus?"
Natalie, thrilled that she had been recognized as a visitor, shot her hand up in the air. The Pastor came straight to her, remarked how happy he was that a visitor would be so eager to answer the question.
With a booming voice, mouth right on the microphone, Natalie replied: "It was a moose!"
The place erupted in laughter. Natalie didn't care, she just turned around and laughed with the crowd. She had only been with us a little over a year at that time, so she was always getting things all turned around. That was one of many "Natalie Grace-isms" that we can chuckle about.
Life goes by so fast, doesn't it? Caleb is fifteen now.....Lydia and Natalie are eleven. I think about what our lives would've looked like if we hadn't added Hope and Charlie. In only 7 more years, we would've had an empty nest. Seven years ago, Natalie made the "It was a moose!" comment in church.....and it seems like yesterday.
Have you thought about what your future is going to look like? I was thinking of Chappy's parents and my parents the other day.....Chappy's parents have had an "empty nest" for 30 years.......my parents for 21 years. Neither one of our parents live near their children/grandchildren. Chappy and I would prefer to live near both sets of our parents, but in our "modern" day and time, it seems like people are forced to move wherever they can find the best jobs to provide for their families.
Like I said before, I've just been thinking......I'm happy I won't have an empty nest.....ever! Chappy and I both feel that way. If you are a parent of a special needs child, you know exactly what I mean.
Chappy and I had lunch with a friend today who has a son who is 42 and has Down Syndrome. I asked: "People always assume Hope and Charlie are "work" to me, but they aren't. Has Greg ever been a burden to you?" Without hesitation, he replied: "Goodness no, he has always been an absolute blessing and pleasure to me."
I have received many emails lately from people who are seriously contemplating adopting an orphan with Down Syndrome through Reece's Rainbow. I began this blog post with a story that represents the innocence and beauty of a child.....a person with Down Syndrome never loses that innocence and inward beauty. I can honestly say, our family never considers Charlie and Hopey to be "work".....instead, we feel like the most blessed family in the world to have discovered what unique joy and perspective they continually bring to our lives.
So to all of you fence straddlers.....just do it! God will never tell you NOT to take in "one of the least". Afterall, whatever you do for one of the least, you do for Him.
"By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Hebrews 11:8
Abraham didn't ask questions or ponder whether he should go......he certainly didn't know what his future would look like, because he didn't even know where on earth he was going.......he just did it!