Friday, December 26, 2008

Love towards the orphaned at Christmastime

A seasonal word about the Christian response to orphans from Lawrence Temfwe of the Micah Challenge in Zambia...
It is difficult to imagine Joseph’s feeling when the angel of the Lord told him to go ahead and marry Mary even though she was expecting a child that was not his biological. He may not have wanted to do it, but he obeyed. God often requires extra ordinary obedience from His servants who are facing extra ordinary times. Joseph was a man with strong beliefs. He obeyed God and accepted the fact that the pain involved in obedience may benefit others and not him personally.

Think of the pain Joseph had to endure as a result of his obedience. First he had to marry Mary, honour her virginity and provide nursing care for her until the baby was born. Just in case you don’t get it, the baby Mary was carrying was not his. Second, Joseph had to relocate from his home and his people to go and live as a refugee in Egypt in order to protect the life of a child that was not his. Third, Joseph had to live his role as Jesus’ earthly father, training him in the trade of carpentry and making sure he had good spiritual foundation (Luke 2.52).

Joseph knew Jesus was someone special from the moment he heard the angel’s words. His strong belief in that fact, and his willingness to follow God’s leading empowered him to be Jesus’ chosen earthly father. Joseph knew that children “are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127.3).

Zambia today has 1,000,000 orphans. These are children without an earthly father or mother. Can you imagine? Almost 10% of Zambia’s populations are orphans. Some live in our homes and sometimes we treat them like second class citizens. Others live in the streets and are ill-treated and abused. Christians in Zambia are facing extra ordinary times that require extra ordinary obedience. How have we as church responded to this challenge? How have we as Christian individuals responded? Have we obeyed Him like Joseph did? Have we trusted God that He knows everything and has special purpose for these children? Jesus, said, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sends me.” This Christmas if you act with compassion, justice and love towards any of these children you will be welcoming Jesus and you will be giving a special present to Him. After all, it’s His birthday isn’t it?

Lawrence Temfwe
Wishing you Joy and Peace this Christmas and the year to come (Isaiah 9:6)
From Jubilee Centre Staff and Board