Stunning hymn by DA Carson & Matt Boswell (Free download here)
“Let earth and Heaven combine,
Angels and men agree,
to praise in songs divine
The incarnate Deity,
Our God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made Man.
He laid His glory by,
He wrapped Him in our clay;
Unmarked by human eye,
The latent Godhead lay;
Infant of days He here became,
And bore the mild Immanuel’s Name.
See in that Infant’s face
The depths of deity,
And labor while ye gaze
To sound the mystery
In vain; ye angels gaze no more,
But fall, and silently adore.
Unsearchable the love
That hath the Saviour brought;
The grace is far above
Of men or angels’ thought:
Suffice for us that God, we know,
Our God, is manifest below.
He deigns in flesh t’appear,
Widest extremes to join;
To bring our vileness near,
And make us all divine:
And we the life of God shall know,
For God is manifest below.
Made perfect first in love,
And sanctified by grace,
We shall from earth remove,
And see His glorious face:
His love shall then be fully showed,
And man shall all be lost in God.”
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy… It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And he is more than enough for us.”
In a thought provoking piece Dr Albert Mohler draws out the complexity surrounding our celebrated leader Nelson Mandela. He demonstrates the indispensability of the man as a leader in the course of South Africa’s history in a way that is illustrative of the ironies of history.
As Dr Mohler says:
“Nelson Mandela was one of those men. He was essential—even indispensable—to his nation and to the eradication of apartheid. But no man’s life is heroic in every respect, and no human hero can save.
God alone can save us from ourselves, and he saves us through the atonement accomplished by the Son, Jesus Christ. There is salvation in no other name, no matter how honored on earth.”
“But God in His kindness saw me and adopted me into His family, changed my past, changed my future, changed everything about me. We’ve been adopted.”
1 month = 1.5kg weight increase, several formula changes, countless nappies, numerous hours of lost sleep and many precious lessons learnt – we are filled with a sense of peace and joy we could not have anticipated! Looking back over the past month we can only thank God our Father for the abundant blessing!
What has changed over this past month? The transformation that we have witnessed in this little baby in just 4 weeks has been astounding! When Siya came home he was a tiny, extremely quiet baby with his fists tightly clenched. We were actually worried after a few days that he might have a hearing loss because he was so quiet and unresponsive to sound! Thankfully we soon learned that there was nothing wrong with his hearing as well as his voice! 😉 It was special to see how a home and family melts the fears and insecurities of even the youngest of babies. Over these few weeks Siya has come to know us – feeling comfortable and secure around us. More than that he has become a happy chappy baby – when we are home he is such a friendly relaxed baby that chats away smiling and cooing at everything. He loves attention! At times, especially when surrounded with many strange faces, he still reverts back into to the very quiet baby with clenched fists.
Nina has also evolved into a very caring – if not a little over-enthusiastic – older sister. She really enjoys spending time with Siya, and caring for him in her own innovative and imaginative little ways!
What has changed for us as parents? We have gone through different emotional phases since bringing him home. Most of all we’ve had to deal with our own selfish, sinful natures. Giving up sleep, giving up me-time, giving up a lot of our precious early morning quiet time does not always come as easy as one would like! We have been reminded that children are definitely one of the most important ways God keeps us humble and through which he seeks to fashion His character into our lives.
We’ve felt blessed by the overwhelming positive reaction we received from so many people – family, friends, work colleagues and even strangers in the shops!
As I sit here typing this with a very inquisitive 14 week old boy on my lap – already enamoured by the glaring screens of technology – I am filled with an enormous amount of thankfulness and gratitude towards our Heavenly Father for blessing us with this little boy. A special daily reminder of the highest privilege afforded us through the Good News of Jesus– to be adopted as children of the Most High God.
“The broadest picture of redemption is adoption. God is not only looking to forgive people but to share life with them, to bring them into His family.”
If it takes a village to raise a child it takes a family to love them. Not a sentimental love but a love that owns that child no matter what, a love that takes them in encircling them with bonds of care, a love that anchors their hearts with a deep sense of belonging. A love where children find rest, safe and secure, knowing they are wanted and loved without reserve.
We are very grateful for the special welcome and love Siya has received from our family. Bringing a child from a different race into our family, we expected apprehension and perhaps even disapproval. What a blessing, however, to see the way in which our families have embraced Siya into the family. We know it’s not easy and therefore their attitude and actions have been even more meaningful.
Grandpa Chris has embraced Siya in a particularly special way. For the first two family gatherings he has insisted on a whole new set of family photographs as part of Siya’s welcoming – a reminder to the broader family, and a special remembrance for Siya, that he belongs. On the day Siya was placed in our care Grandpa Chris made the following post on his Facebook profile that set the tone for the way the family welcomed Siya:
“Today we have a new grandson. At first glance, he does not look like us from the outside, but soon he will speak like us, laugh like us, eat like us worship like us. Yesterday, his biological mother gave him away and if I have my way, it will be the last time that someone has turned their back on him. In our family he will be raised in the fear of the Lord, he will receive a good upbringing and education, he will receive a lot of love and he will take up his own special place amongst his own family, his grandparents, his uncles and aunts and his cousins and nieces.
A new life awaits him.
If you are on my friend list and this development makes you uncomfortable and causes inner turmoil, here is a handy window period to draw a line through your name on my friend list and quietly disappear without prejudice.”
To all our family: We have been wonderfully blessed by the way you have supported us with Siya’s adoption story. In a country where race divides, you have been exceptional examples that those divides can be crossed by family love. Through this experience we have only come to appreciate you more deeply than before – we cannot thank you enough!
Coming home to a family is the longing we all have – A place of rest, a place of safety, a place of belonging, a place of love. Earthly families can be a foretaste of that special joy. A reminder that there is an eternal family where the deepest most profound love binds people together for eternity – not by blood or race, but by the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the beloved Son of our God and Father.
Siya has been blessed with grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces who welcomed him and who love him. Our prayer is that in time he will come to know the Father from whom every family in heaven and earth gets its name (Eph 3:15) and his Son who paid the price to draw us into God’s eternal family.