Just a while and it’s Christmas. We look at the child, lying in the manger. Small, vulnerable and poor. But we rejoice. We know heaven stood behind this child. We know he was beloved by the Creator of the universe as his Father. We know that he came to bring joy and salvation to the world. Think of the feelings God had for him. When he was baptised, a voice came from heaven, saying: `you are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.’ He knew that heaven supported him, yes that God loved him, supported him and rejoiced in what he came to do for us. The feelings were mutual. His love for his Father was abundant and preceded everything. He lived for his Father. He was willing to die for his Father. He trusted his Father to raise him from the dead. And this is still true and goes on forever: the mutual love of Father and Son.
Now what about you, what about us? How does God, the Creator of the universe, look at you? And what feelings do you have for God? Similar feelings like between the Father and Jesus? When you think of God’s thoughts about you, it may come to your mind that God sees things he is not pleased with. And when you look within, possibly you miss strong feelings of love for God, as Jesus had for his Father.
Jesus taught his followers to begin their prayers with `our Father’. Why? He knew that his most precious treasure was his Father in heaven, being near to him through the presence of the Holy Spirit. What if the all-powerful Creator of the universe would be your personal Father and if he would strongly support you, was pleased with you, was with you, was near you through his Spirit? Wow… Jesus knew this was true for him. But what he had – his most precious treasure – he wanted to share with us. He wanted to give to us. The purpose of his birth was to give us: his Father, so that we could pray: `our Father’, namely: Father of Jesus and also of us who believe in Jesus.
Ever wondered how Jesus’ Father can become your Father? How such love and support as there were and are for Jesus can also be there for you? This is what the Gospel is all about! But how can that become true for you? How can you feel it? I will show you three options, of which only the third works.
1. Assume it.
When you hear Christians pray, you will often hear them say `Father’ to God. You might assume that to feel God to be your Father, you might simply do the same: call God your Father and assume that he (hopefully) is. But here lies a problem. What about the differences between you and Jesus? What about your awareness of doing things wrong? What about not feeling such deep love for God within? On what basis could you assume that he wants to be your Father also? Just assume and hope for it?
2. Work for it.
Perhaps you are convinced that it exists: God, the Creator of the universe, being pleased with men, feeling strong love for humans – but: based on what? We might feel that we should work to feel worthy of God, so that he might give us his love and accept us as his child. Yes, he can be a Father, he can forgive, he can bring newness of life, but not for anyone. You should strive to be worthy of it, shouldn’t you? Perhaps, when we have done our utmost best to avoid mistakes and to live more faithful, perhaps then he will appreciate us more and we might feel more accepted and loved by God.
3. Receive it.
Friends! You must know that this will never work. God is the Creator and we are his creatures. Creature, that is our nature. Special creatures – it is true – made to be his image-bearers. But still: creatures. And: sinful creatures – rebellious against the Creator God, time after time again. On the other hand, Jesus wasn’t created by God. He is born of God. No, this doesn’t mean that he was one day born in heaven, or that God was married. It means that his origin is in God, the way the rays of the sun have their origin in the sun. What was born of us can say father or mother to us. But what we made with our hands is the work of our hands and not our child. So there are two great differences between Jesus and us. At first: we are creatures of God, Jesus is born of God. Secondly: we are sinful (more than we are aware), and Jesus is without sin.
Now the purpose of Jesus’ birth and coming into this world and taking upon Him our human, sinful nature, was: that we should receive his sinless nature and become beloved sons and daughters of God. That we would receive the new birth by faith, would also become born of God. For this he fulfilled everything we were called to do. He did it for us, as a gift: accomplish what we should have done. And he took upon Him all that we deserved as sinners: the punishment and debt, when he died on the cross. God raised Jesus from the dead. He is the one who is able to give humans a new nature. Since he is alive, we can call to him and he can hear us. He is willing to receive whoever comes to him. He offers us a new life: forgiveness of our sins, but also: a new nature, a new life within, born of God, living with God as our Father. Then the Father of Jesus truly becomes your Father, my Father. The Spirit that was on Jesus: on you too. That is what Christmas was all for: Jesus was born for us in this world, to give us His Father. Not by deserving him, not by working hard to be worthy of him. But to receive him by faith. And to be received by him, adopted in his family, by faith. And to be enjoyed as the greatest privilege ever. As the apostle John wrote: `See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.’ May you discover, believe, receive, enjoy and testify to this greatest gift ever. Have a blessed Christmas!!!