While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:6-11 NIV
Last month, as I sat around my Thanksgiving table, I couldn’t help but be overcome with a swelling sense of gratitude. I celebrated my American holiday in South Africa among people from four different nations with a turkey that was shipped from Brazil. It was a beautiful picture of family. It was a beautiful picture of God’s heart. It brought tears to my eyes the same way meditating on Christ’s birth chokes me up with emotion.
I can’t imagine the agony the Father went through when He saw that there was no other way to bring us back into relationship with Him except through Jesus dying on the Cross. I also can’t imagine Jesus, Son of the Most High, weighing the decision and the pain, physical and emotional, that would follow it and this most perfect Son, seated next to His heavenly Father, humbling Himself to be born into this world as a baby. While all of that was difficult, the Father had His sights set on something else, something that was going to “cause great joy for all the people,” a yearning for relationship with you and me that came from the deepest love none of us can ever imagine.
It was relationship and the Father’s example of what family is that brought those four nations to gather around my Thanksgiving table, laughing together and voicing what we are truly grateful for over a feast of delicious food. Likewise, it was Jesus’ birth in a stable, surrounded by stinky animals, that brought wise men from afar to celebrate the Savior. The Father longs for relationship and will do anything to have that with us, with ME, even if it means the painful journey of His Son leaving His side to be born in a hurting world.
We serve a Good, Good Father. It’s just who He is. In my house, we have a basket of Christmas themed books by the tree to pick up and read during this lovely time of year. If you have a similar bunch of Christmas books, I encourage you to add Good Good Father to your stack, because He truly is a good good Father to send His one and only Son for you and me.
This is the season to give. As we pick out the best gifts that are going to bring a smile to someone’s face, let’s not forget the greatest gift that the Father has given us, His Son. Let’s pause and remember that God’s love for us is deeper than anything we can imagine, and if it weren’t for that miraculous virgin birth that the Father orchestrated, our tables would be void of relationship that connects us as family.
What signs of a Good Good Father do you see throughout the holiday season?