Friday, March 18, 2011

The Chosen Son – A True Christmas Story

As a part of the blog beginning, I wish to share some of the writings from my past that have been posted in the Korean MPAK website in 2004.  This is a true Christmas story of my family from 2004 that actually happened, and you have to read it to the end to understand the signifcance of the story.  This story will tell you a little about who I am, and why I do what I do through MPAK.

It was first written in Korean, then translated to English.  I heard that many people shared this story on other blogs, and some pastors have used it as illustration on their sermons.  I am very privileged that so many have been blessed with this story.

The Chosen Son A True Christmas Story

I will never forget the special Sunday of December 26, 2004.
My family was visiting my parents for the Christmas Holiday, and I had the opportunity to worship with my parents at their Village Seven Presbyterian Church in Colorado Springs.  As members of the church, both of them had served at the church for many years.

It was the day after Christmas, and the church was filled to the capacity crowd.  We dropped our kids at the childrens ministry, and my wife and I sat together with my parents to worship together. The church was predominantly white and there were around 1000 people, and it has been a while since we worshipped together.  But ironically, the sermon on that day by the Pastor Wheat was on adoption.

Anyone who has attended some church services would have most likely heard about how God has adopted us through Jesus and given us the privilege to call Him the Father.  The pastor spoke about the three important lessons on adoption.  The first was that there is a transformation of our special status. That is, through adoption, an adopted child is entitled equally with the other children in the family the rights and privileges that the family bestows.  Jesus Christ came to this world to give us that right.    

At the mentioning of the words special status, I thought about my parents sitting next to me.  It occurred when they adopted me, I too underwent a transformation into a special statusfrom a lowly orphan to a son of great parents. This realization made me to be more appreciative of my parents while my heart was filled with gratitude. 

Secondly, through adoption we have special relationships with the God the Father. The pastor claimed that adoption was God
s idea.  Through adoption He has given us the right to call him Father.  The pastor used an example where many adoptees become curious about their backgrounds and later ask the question Why? to the parents. Why did my birthmother abandon me?  As many adoptees ask this question, they are often shaken by self identify as to who they are, and in some cases they fall into depression. 

But the pastor stated that he has met many adoptive parents whose children asked such questions, and these parents have taught him some valuable lessons.  The lessons came from what the parents said to the adopted children.  They would say, Do you feel you have been abandoned?  We dont fully understand how you came to be in this world, but one thing that is very clear to us is that we wanted you in the first place, and we chose you.  Because of that you are more precious to us than anything in the world.

The pastor then stated that likewise, God has chosen us while we were yet sinners, and because He has adopted us, we now have special relationship with Him.

As I reflected on the statement, We chose you, I again thought about my parents sitting next to me.  I thought about the hopeless days of living in an orphanage long ago.  I also remember the time when my picture was featured on Holts newsletter at the end of my 13th year.  In that issue of the newsletter there were pictures of many other children needing homes, and most importantly they were all younger than me.  My father looked at all the pictures of the children and his eyes caught mine, and upon seeing my picture, I dont know what inspired him, but he said to my mother, Here is the boy. Here is my son.  That day, far away across the Pacific Ocean in America, a man chose me as his son.
As I listened to the sermon I looked at my father.  He was now 81, and he could hardly walk even with a cane as he was very weak.  I wondered as he was listening to these words what thoughts were running through his mind?  And what would my mother be thinking of?  I became curious.
Likewise, they were probably wondering the same about their son Steve.
I was chosen and adopted, and through adoption I had a special relationship with them.  I was able to experience their sincere and deep love for me.  Because of this I was someone very special.  My wife and I adopted Joseph from Korea in 2000.  Someday my boy Joseph may ask the same question, Why?  When that day comes I hope to answer him with confidence the words filled with strength and love.

The third lesson on adoption was that it renews ones life.  When God adopts a person, He does not try to fix the person up.  He doesnt take apart the wrong things one by one and fix them back.  Instead, He renews the person. When I heard this, I realized for the first time that there has never been a time when my parents tried to take my bad habits or behaviors and put efforts to fix them.  Of course it doesnt mean that they never scolded me for my mistakes, but all I know is that they never gave up on loving me, and their kindness and love made a new person out of me.  They accepted my weaknesses and allowed me to experience a new love, a new family, a new faith, a new hope, and a new dream.

It was evident the pastor
s sermon moved my mother immensely.  After the service my mother got out of her seat and hugged me, and she buried her face in my chest and started to sob. I understood what she was going through. Mother held me for some time and finally lifted her face up to me.  Her eyes were red and filled with tears streaming down as she said, I am so thankful that you are our son. And then she buried her face again and cried.

My heart was indescribably moved, and all I could do was to caress her shoulder.  I said, No mother, it is I who is even more thankful.  My wife was watching this whole episode and she took out my video camera and starting taking shots while tears streaming down her face.  I was thinking, How could she even think about shooting this scene at a time like this?  My wifes tears were the tears of love.  My father also came over and we hugged each other.  In a trembling voice, he said, We truly are grateful that you are our son, Steve.

After the service, my mother and I, along with my kids Joseph and Helen went over to the pastor Wheat to thank him for the message.  Later when our family was talking in the hallway, the pastor passed us by. While he was exchanging the greetings with my parents, I directed his attention to my father sitting on a chair, and said, Pastor, this is the Dad who chose me a long ago.  Pastor Wheat exclaimed, Thats Wonderful!, and after exchanging a few more words he went on his way. 
In looking back on that Sunday, I couldn
t help thinking about many things. Was our visit that day a coincidence? Or was it Gods will to bless me with this experience?  Or how I was reluctant to drive from LA to Colorado for the Christmas, but my wife, who was at the time eight months pregnant with the fourth child, insisted that we visit my parents for the Christmas. There are many possible explanations, but I believe our trip to Colorado Springs that winter was divinely guided.  It was Gods affirmation of how my parents chose me as their son, as well as Gods way of showing me His story on adoption.  The Christmas of 2004 will always live in my memory.

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