A couple weeks ago in church something extraordinary happened to me. We were preparing for our Advent reading when I invited all the children to come forward to the front of the church. Elizabeth and Anna are now old enough to be a part of these kinds of activities, and so my wife Stephane started getting the girls ready. Anna was standing in the aisle between the pews, with Stephane holding her hand while also picking up Elizabeth. Anna noticed me at the front of the church and I thought to myself; I wonder if she might walk to the front on her own? I bent down so that I was around eye level with her and opened up my arms. Without saying anything, she knew exactly what to do.
The scene that follows has been replayed over and over in mind. It might not sound like a big deal to you, but it was thrilling for me. In fact, 2 years ago, before I was a parent, I don’t think it would be that big of deal to me. But now as a father, things have obviously changed.
Anna tugged on Stephane’s arm and so she looked to see what was happening. My wife caught glimpse of me at the front and she could immediately tell that Anna wanted to walk the length of the church to her waiting father. Stephane knew that it was ok for her to let go of Anna, because she had a destination in mind – me.
As soon as she was released, Anna took off like a shot, just as fast as her 16-month-old body could carry her. Of course it didn’t take long for her to make it to the front of our small church, where her proud father was waiting. She ran into my arms and I gave her a big old hug. That, for me, was a moment I won’t soon forget.
Perhaps you are wondering; why take the time to describe such an ordinary occurrence? Children run to their parents all the time. True, but it got me thinking about our relationship with our Heavenly Father. If you are a follower of Christ, then that means you are a child of God. You have a Father who loves you and you can (and must) run to Him. That’s the connection.
What amazed me about Anna was how much confidence and security she had in me. There was no fear or worry because she knew that it was safe to run into daddy’s arms. I am not trying to puff myself up here. I am simply attempting to make an analogy. If you are part of the family of God, then there is a confidence that goes along with that heritage.
The apostle Paul once asked, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32) With God on our side, Paul is saying that there is absolutely nothing to fear. He goes on to explain that the proof of this lies in the fact that God the Father gave us His only Son (John 3:16). If that is not an adequate demonstration of the Father’s love, then what is? It actually pleased the Father to give His Son over to death, in order that we might be reconciled to God.
My friend, that is truly remarkable! “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God.” (1 John 3:1) If you are not amazed by the love of God in Christ, then either you don’t understand it or you haven’t experienced it.
This Christmas season as we remember the birth of Jesus, please don’t forget about the love of the Father. The apostle John writes, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) That is the miracle of the incarnation – God became flesh and blood and lived among us.
What a joy and comfort it is to know that we can run to our Heavenly Father. And having cleansed us from our sin through the atoning work of Christ (Revelation 1:5), the Father is now preparing us for heaven. This Christmas season, look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and rest in the Father’s love. There is no more appropriate thing you could do.