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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Today’s Reading | Galatians 4:4–7

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (NRSV)

The idea that we are all “children of God,” that God has claimed us as “heirs,” is one of the most personally meaningful aspects of our faith. When I have gone through difficult times, I’ve been comforted by the thought of God’s unconditional love. I am a child of God, and nothing can ever separate me from that love.

But there’s another aspect of this concept that’s equally important: God claimed all of us. We share a common identity as children of God. Paul even goes so far as to equate us with Jesus: “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.” Isn’t that what our faith tells us to do—to be the face, hands, ears, eyes, and voice of Jesus to those who need it?

This year has been a difficult one. We have witnessed major differences of opinion about race, gender, sexual-orientation, and religion, as well as acts of war. There has been hurt, fear, and distrust on each of these topics. If we are all children of God, then so are those who are suffering—and so, too, are those who perpetrate hate. It’s up to us as Christians to love them both.

God’s entry into the world as a baby is a reminder that we have a chance for new life, a fresh start. It was a sign of hope to people who needed one. As this year draws to a close, let us seize on that opportunity. Let us remember what God did in that action—he claimed us as his own. Let us remember that each of us, no matter how different, shares a common identity as a child of God and that we are called to love and serve each other as members of God’s family.

Ever-loving God, remind me that I am yours and that nothing can separate me from your love. Help me remember that those I encounter on the street or in the news are your creations. Help me to share your love and grace with each of them, just as your Son, Jesus, taught us to do. Amen.

Written by Mark Nelson, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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