There are many things that can define us.
Our jobs – what we do for a living – undoubtedly spring to mind for many. The question: “Soooo… what do you do?” is often one of the first questions we ask and answer within 10-15 minutes of meeting someone for the first time at parties or other gatherings.
Our pursuits also can be defining. It’s the reason millions of people gathered in Grant Park in Chicago on a chilly November morning to celebrate the 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs, or gather in stadiums and smaller halls to cheer on their favorite performers, or regularly gather on muggy summer mornings or rainy fall days to tackle muddy obstacle courses or run 26 miles through the streets of one of America’s major cities.
But often, for many, their true defining characteristics – for better or for worse – are handed down with their heritage, from their family.
From our earliest moments to the end of our days, the places we have come from and the people with whom we share traditions and our formative and most intimate moments - they imprint upon us in ways we often cannot begin to truly see and comprehend and shape us into the people we become. For some, that may be measured in innumerable blessings, contrasted against some glaring flaws. For others, it may mean a lifetime spent trying to overcome old wounds or obstacles laid out, perhaps before they were even born.
But no matter what shape they may take, our family remains our family.
However, God, in His Word, shares with us a great mystery and an even greater promise. For just as we have been given human families, with all their flaws, so, too, does our Creator promise us a different heritage.
And this heritage is free of flaws. How? Because it is handed down to us from God Himself.
In His Word, God, through the prophet Isaiah, foretells the arrival of His Son, Jesus. And among the descriptors He chooses to use to tell us about Jesus is this phrase: “Everlasting Father.”
As Pastor Bryan shared, this phrase does not so much describe Jesus Himself, as it points to one of His great purposes: To point us to The Father, God the Creator, who so loved the world – who so loved us, though we hated Him – that He sent his One and Only Son to pay the ultimate sacrifice, to suffer and die in agony on a cross of wood, to shed His Blood, that we may be delivered from sin and the agonizing death we deserved, to be reunited with our Father in Heaven, and become co-heirs with Christ to the wonderful future He has predestined for us with Him, forever.
For before the arrival of Jesus, we had no idea of the parental love God had for us, and of His desire for all humanity to be united to Him, not as slaves, nor even as mere servants, but as His children!
Yet through Jesus, not only did we learn of this love, not only were we told, but a way was made – The Way was made! – for us to join with our Father, in His Family and in His Kingdom for all eternity.
Today, as you ponder this great mystery, remember: Through Jesus, we – you, us, all of us – have been given a new name, a new family, a new definition of what it means to be human.
We are no longer slaves to this world, slaves to what which we believe defines us. Rather, through Jesus, we have been called children of God, children of His Promise!
Today, as we continue to worship our God during this season of promise, remember who you are, through the actions of the life and death of that little baby born in Bethlehem on that silent night thousands of years ago in the hill country of Judea, when Grace Came.