A family for the holidays
How to experience a family centered Christmas
A few nights ago, my mother-in-law stopped by to drop something off. As a fellow Christmas enthusiast, she was quite excited that we had a YouTube video of a fireplace playing on our television. I began to share how I discovered it, which brought me to the story of one Christmas in college. A Christmas Eve where I found myself alone in front of my TV, on a channel that was broadcasting a fireplace scene, wishing for a family for Christmas.
Wishing For a Family for Christmas
For decades, Christmas was a challenging time for me. My first Christmas memory is not about the day, but witnessing my mother pass away three days after Christmas. In the years after that, there were ups and downs. I had a few Christmases in kinship care with my grandmother that were full of joy and wonder. However, there were also years in other placements when I felt alone, sad, hurt, and angry. It was a rollercoaster of loving the season but being plagued by not being settled in a family. I was a guest in other people’s holiday festivities, longing to be welcomed, loved and safe. I found myself wishing for a family for Christmas. A family that I could call my own and one that would always want me no matter what.
Others Like Me
A lot of time has passed since I was that little girl in the 1980s. However, there are hundreds of thousands of kids today who have stories like mine. They are children and youth who are wishing for a family for Christmas. Some might want to be back with their biological families. Others desire to be in a forever family. Some might be removed from their homes this Christmas season. Whatever their situation, they all want to be safe, be loved, and be a part of a family. And let’s not forget those older kids, teens, and even youth that have aged out. No matter how old you get, the desire for a family is still there.
A Family for Christmas
Now, at this point, you might be stirred by my story or be thinking about the need in your community today. Or even a little intrigued, but do not know where to start. You find yourself asking, “what can I do?”. Please do not let this hold you back. There are many things you can do, from simple acts of kindness to opening your heart and home.
This Christmas season, consider:
- Pray for children, youth, adults who have aged out, and for families.
- Go online and search for toy drives in your area. Then make a family outing of purchasing items to donate.
- Start learning more about foster care and adoption. There are so many excellent resources out there in print and online. Check out our article archives or the Focus on the Family bookstore.
- Explore volunteering. Organizations such as Royal Family Kids, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and Child Placement organizations are blessings to vulnerable children and families.
- Does your town have a college or university? Reach out to the school to see if any students are not going home or do not have a home for the holidays.
- Furthermore, consider being a support system for these students throughout the year.
- Is God opening your heart to foster care? Or to adopt? Start praying, learning, reaching out to learn more.
Wish Come True
This Christmas, my wish has come true. It took many years, lots of prayer, and a few detours along the way, but I will spend it with my family. And it is not the family my eight-year-old self pictured, but it is the family that God has for me. While I may not physically be with them all, it is a network of family. College roommates and their families who invited me for holidays during school. There are also friends who have been by my side. I cannot forget the many mentors. Nor the prayer warriors from all aspects of my life. Even some biological family I met as an adult. And of course, my husband and his loving family who welcomed me with open arms.
So this Christmas Eve, we will sit around the TV fireplace and pray. We will pray for those who are lonely and hurting. As well as those whose hearts are stirring. I am excited to see what the future holds. Let’s make a difference for those wishing for a family.
written by Helen Parks. Originally posted on focusonthefamily.com