PREPARATION: lighting the candle and readying myself to listen.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.
1 John 3:1-2
“Jesus Is The Reason For The Season!” Perhaps you are seeing this important reminder on banners, buttons, and cards. That is so right! Jesus is the reason for this Christmas season. But what is the reason behind that? What is the reason for Immanuel coming to be God with us 2,000 years ago?
C. S. Lewis likens the Son of God’s coming to a strong man stooping low to lift a great burden:
“One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower to get himself underneath some great, complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift. He must also disappear under the load before he incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on his shoulders.” (C.S. Lewis, Miracles)
In the fourth century, Saint Athanasius said much the same but differently: “For the Son of God became man so to make us sons of God.” (Saint Athanasius, On the Incarnation) As Karl Barth said, “God did not want to be God without us.” (Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, II,1) Although we had turned away from God and defied Him, it pleased God to send His Son to become what we are, to make us what He is, to take our place so that we might have His.
In today’s scripture the apostle John calls for readers to ‘see’ the infinite love the Father has given for us, “that we should be called the children of God; and that is what we are.” “We are called upon to come with our little vessels to measure the contents of the great ocean, to plumb with our short lines the infinite abyss.” (Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture)
John does not say that one day we will be God’s children, but does say that we are God’s children, now! Being God’s children is not something in our future; we bear this wondrous title now: “the children of God.” “See” in this the proof and perfection of God’s love for us. God does this in harmony with Jesus’ prayer about us to His Father: “The glory that you have given me I have given them” (John 17:22).
Although we are “God’s children now”, we do not yet fully reflect God’s image and glory. We are works in progress, “being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18). But John tells us that when Christ returns and is “revealed” in glory, seeing His glory will glorify us. We will then be made like Him, experiencing our full physical and spiritual transformation into His image.
Without any question of worthiness or unworthiness, we can boldly proclaim the promise of Immanuel: “…we are God’s children NOW.” Oh! See the love our Father has given us!
CONVERSATION: I talk with God about the thoughts and feelings stirring within.
REST: I take time to be present to Immanuel who is present to me.