When I look back on my favorite Christmas memories, they have nothing to do with snow or expensive presents. My favorite memories, and what I look forward to the most this Christmas, is spending time with family! Despite all their craziness and the difficulties that come with cramming so many people into one home… I love it. I like being able to sit around and catch up with relatives I don’t get to see any other time. I like the conversations and arguing football… and of course the food!
The other day I was listening to one of the Christian radio stations here in town and they were playing a song that excitedly says over and over again “I am a friend of God; He calls me friend!” and it started to drive me crazy! As I sat there and listened, I kept thinking… God has made us so much more than that! As great as it is to be his friend, we are more than that. We are not just someone he likes to be around. The wonderful thing about Jesus coming and dying and being resurrected is not that he made it possible for us to be friends with God… it’s that he made it possible for us to rejoin our family! God is our father and Jesus is our brother. The song should say “I am a child of God, he calls me ‘son’!” (or daughter J)
I know a lot of people have different perspectives on what it means to be a family. Some of you grew up in peaceful homes, others were driven by a tiger mom that focused on motivating you to achieve more than you currently were. Some of you may have been tight knit, and others more absent. Some were blessed and others had poor examples. However, to be in God’s family… to have a father that not only knows you (from the number of hairs on your head to what is in your heart) but loves you so much that he was willing to do whatever it took to make a way for you to be saved from your sin – even though the cost was sending his one and only son to die for you. How amazing is that?
That’s what I hope you focus on this week. Yes, Jesus was born and that was a joyous occasion! However, the amazing part is what it means for us. I am the prodigal son, and Jesus coming, living and dying for me… means that my father wants me to come home to be with him! He loves me that much. You also, are the prodigal, and have a father that loves you so much that he was willing to do whatever it took to give you a way back! He didn’t do it so that when you returned to him you could finally get what is coming to you. He did it so that when you returned, he could see you from a long way off and run to meet you. So that he could wrap a robe around you, put a ring on your finger, kill the fatted calf and throw a party because his child has returned! (Luke 15:11-32)
My prayer is that this Christmas we get to enjoy giving and receiving presents – but that we also take time to stop and think and share this wonderful gift with others. Give thanks for the awesome gift God has given us. Yes, Jesus coming and dying, but more than that. Let us give thanks for what that means and shout it to the world, that we are God’s sons and daughters that he has welcomed home!
Striving alongside you for the prize,