This week I had the privilege of introducing a little boy to his new family. We’ll call him Matt, though that is not his real name. After Matt’s mother and father relinquished their parental rights several years ago, he believed no one would ever want him. There is only so much comfort you can give a child who may age out of foster care and never be adopted. At thirteen, this was a very real possibility for Matt, and no matter how much good was going on in his life, the emptiness that he felt not being a part of a family creeped in constantly.
When we told Matt that he had a family interested in adopting him, he was ecstatic. All the negative behaviors we had seen begin to crop up as he lost hope in ever having a family disappeared. He cut his hair, which he had been refusing to cut or brush for weeks. The quarrels he had been starting with peers stopped. All because of hope, born of the knowledge that someone wanted him and loved him.
The night Matt met his new family, he played Charlie Brown in his group home’s Christmas play. In this story, Charlie Brown goes to pick out a Christmas Tree; and upon seeing a tiny, sparse pine, Charlie Brown decides that it needs a home. Charlie Brown knows what it’s like to be this little tree, overlooked and never chosen, and so does Matt. As Matt voiced Charlie Brown’s words “this little green one here seems to need a home…I think it needs me,” I looked over at his prospective mom and she had tears in her eyes. She turned to me and, in Linus’ words, said “It’s not a bad little tree at all really. It just needs a little love.”
We all need a little love this time of year and always. God’s greatest commandment is to love because love is powerful and rich in blessings. Love casts out fear and shame. Love brings with it forgiveness and healing and hope. Love is the greatest gift we can give each other this season. So give it lavishly.