In order to legally adopt our child from China, the US Consulate must issue us something called an 'Article 5'. Once the Article 5 is issued, our child is legally available for us to adopt him. Obviously, receiving the Article 5 is a big deal! I have been praying that we would find out today when our Article 5 is to be issued, because if we did not find out today, we would have been faced with 2 weeks of silence on its status due to the holidays. This morning, I received an email stating that our Article 5 would be available January 6! Normally, about 2-3 weeks after receiving the Article 5, China issues the travel invitation with the dates that we will be traveling to bring our precious boy home.
When I opened my email this morning and saw this message filled with answered prayer, I was struck by how personal God truly is. He specifically answered my prayer for this day so I would not have to wait through Christmas. He cared for my heart and met its desire. This is the God who sent His Son as a baby to walk personally on this earth to ultimately give His life for His people. He is personal. He hears. He cares. This is what I hope people remember most this season. As we sing Christmas carols and give gifts and travel about in frenzied fashion, I hope we will reflect on this personal God who was laid in a manger and personally walked this earth to walk with His people for eternity. And I hope we will 'walk by faith and not be sight' until the day we see Jesus forever.
In closing, I will share a quote that really struck me as I studied Mary's life in this advent season and now sit reflecting on the personal nature of our God. "She ultimately followed Him all the way to the cross, and on that dark afternoon when He died, she was standing nearby with a group of women, watching in grief and horror...the cloud of this inevitable reality had probably hung over Mary's mind since Jesus' infancy. It was no doubt one of the things she kept and pondered in her heart (Luke 2:19, 51)...Her sense of injustice being done to Him must have been profound. After all, no one understood Jesus' absolute, sinless perfection better than Mary did. She nurtured Him as an infant and brought Him up through childhood...Mary seemed to understand that her steadfast presence at Jesus' side was the only kind of support she could give Him at this dreaded moment...one of Jesus' last earthly acts before yielding up His life to God was to make sure that for the rest of her life, Mary would be cared for (by John)...As a mother, she had once provided for all His needs, but in the ultimate and eternal sense, He was her Savior and provider...(After Jesus' resurrection and ascension, she sits praying with his followers in Acts 1:14)...Her life and her testimony point us consistently to her Son...Mary's own example...teaches us to do the same" (John MacArthur).