A few days ago I wrote a post about the unique grief of special needs parents, and boy did it hit a nerve.
So many special needs parents replied that they felt the same way, that they understood exactly, that it was comforting to know they weren’t the only ones. Still others who aren’t special needs parents chimed in with words of encouragement or thanks for helping them understand how to help and support such families.
But any time a post gets that many hits, there are bound to be some naysayers.
I arrived home from a five day getaway to find a doozie in the comments section from a mother who complained about the autistic boy with Tourrette’s syndrome in her daughter’s class at school. She admitted that his undesirable actions were indeed involuntary, but then began a diatribe about how this boy basically did not deserve to be included because of his disability related behaviors. Her final statement summed it up this way:
While this will not be a popular opinion, it is worth looking at whether those who are excluding the kid that you clearly love and adore [are doing so] for a valid or at least somewhat understandable reason.”
I was a little surprised. Yes, at 45 years old I’m still a little naive and just assume that everybody plays nice.
Well, everybody doesn’t.
Like the person (a thin stretch of the word) who wrote the now infamous letter to the mother of an autistic boy in Toronto, suggesting that the world would be better off if her son were euthanized.
I’m grateful that my boy hasn’t received criticism this harsh.
But he has been excluded. By people we thought were friends and in places we thought were safe.
We are two days from Christmas. The hustle and bustle are in full swing. We are drowning in the wrapping paper and the ornaments and the food and the music and all the trimmings.
And it’s way too easy to forget about that night. The night that changed everything.
The night when the time came for God to be born.
Door after door the answer was the same.
There’s no room for you here.
When Mary’s labor had progressed to that point, the people had to realize, didn’t they? Didn’t they hear her cries of pain? Joseph had to be frantic as he rushed through the little town, desperate for a place, a room, ANY ROOM, for the Savior of the world to be delivered.
Why didn’t anyone let him in? Why did no one make room? Was there really so little compassion for a young girl in labor and her flustered, terrified husband?
It would seem so. Because we all know the story, don’t we?
There was no room.
When your special needs child is rejected
Parents of special needs kids know that feeling.
- That frantic, desperate knocking.
- That last-ditch attempt to get their foot in the door.
- That aching need to have their child included, wanted, welcomed. If we could just have one more chance to squeeze in, just one more do-over.
“Please just let us in!” they beg. So distraught, so focused, so impassioned almost to the point of hysteria.
“LET US IN!”
Can’t you see how we need to come in?
But all too often —
- Parents, we are in good company.
- Our children can be teased and bullied and made to feel less than. Jesus was, too.
- Our children aren’t recognized for the special human beings they are, but are all too often shunned and despised. Jesus knew that road well.
We are in the best of company.
Yes, the pain is real. The pain of being locked outside when everyone else is basking in the warmth and glow of the interior is frighteningly real.
But the real wonder is happening outside. . . in the stable. We are in good company.
I pray for you, special needs parents, that you will experience that wonder. That you would contemplate the idea that the God of all creation would make Himself small enough, not just to be born as an infant, but to be born excluded. Outside. With no room.
He knows. He knows what it’s like.
With His wailful entry into this lowly earth He made a bold statement.
He was born outside because there was no room for Him.
Oh, how He loves our precious little ones. Oh, how he loves each of us as well.
Hope for all who are rejected
I was reminded in a recent blog post by Jennifer Janes of a beloved Christmas book, The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado. In it, a little lamb named Joshua is lame, so he is unable to go out with the other sheep on that fateful night. He stays in the stable and, as a result, he is in perfect position to witness the birth of the Christ child. As Jennifer so elegantly states, “He would never have had that coveted spot if the world hadn’t seen him as defective and weak.”
There is glory and awe and worship happening outside, under the stars, beneath that one brightest holy star. Only those on the outside get to experience it.
Whether you’re a special needs parent or not, haven’t you felt the sting of rejection? The sadness of being excluded, left on the outside?
Jesus was born for you.
On the outside.
So you could understand that He really does know how you feel. He gets it. He lived it. He died for it.
One of my favorite Nichole Nordeman songs is entitled Gratitude. These lines cut right to the chase:
Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger’s view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You’ll provide in other ways
And if that’s the case . . .
We’ll give thanks to You
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead,
And if we never taste that bread.
A starry sky in lieu of a roof overhead.
That’s how the baby Jesus came.
There may be no room in the inn, but there is room for all at the manger.
Sweet, dear ones — with Jesus, there is a place–always a place— for you.
Nichole Nordeman singing “Gratitude”
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