Advent Reader -- Day 24
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:15-23)
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1a)
Tomorrow, we will celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the firstborn over all creation - not the first created being, as some religions falsely claim, but the One who holds our universe together and without whom we would have neither life nor breath.
His birth in Bethlehem has implications for all of us. Jesus was born on earth so that we could become God’s children too, all of us. The gospel Jesus would grow up and bring was for everyone, then and now. It destroyed all barriers among people: social, racial and gender-related. Our unity is based on our new identity, children of God. That is what we are!
Our status in Christ far surpasses any earthly advantages we would have over one another, leaving no room for pride. No slave or free, no wealthy or poor, no in or out. We are all sons of God, His grown children, able to respond personally to the Person of God, because of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This includes “hearing” God speak to us through His Word and other means and speaking to him ourselves, not with formal prayers, but with the cries of His children, “Abba Father.”
All this is our Christmas gift from him. His acceptance of us is free, not earned, and all on account of the baby whose birth brings us Christmas.
Abba, Father, how comforting it is to come to you with confidence, knowing your love is a gift that was not earned and, consequently, can never be lost. Thank you for allowing me this moment to pause, take a deep breath and realize how great a gift this truly is. Though we have always lived in cultures that erect barriers between people, barriers that divide us and make us feel either arrogant or inferior, I praise you for the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus, who broke through these artificial boundaries in his love, acceptance, forgiveness and service to the last, the least and the lonely. Teach me to treasure all the people I encounter today and to love them enough to seek their greatest good. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.