A new year brings the opportunity of a fresh start, but events from the old year—whether personal or on a larger scale—often impact our new beginnings. When I began writing this note, on the second day of 2013, I sat beside the hospital bed of my fifteen-year-old son. He lay connected to machines that were monitoring him, while lines and tubes provided him with medication and nutrition or drained fluids from his body. My son had emergency surgery for an infection following appendicitis two days before the end of 2012. Now, in the middle of January, he is making solid steps toward recovery.
Lingering also in my mind and so many other minds is the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where so many children’s lives ended just days before Christmas, and where heartbroken families continue to mourn their loss.
And so, as we begin this new year, let us undertake with renewed determination the care of children—our own children; the children of Sandy Hook; and the children to whom we are connected, whether as family, friends, neighbors, teachers, leaders, or caregivers. Let us also take this opportunity to be reminded of our own significance as children of God, and of the assurances we receive from our heavenly Father.
Our petit four for this month does not come from my blue box but from a Tweet I received at Christmastime. It read: For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:26 (NLT)
Since we have recently celebrated Christmas with its focus on a very special child—Jesus, who came from God, and who is God—our first assurance is Immanuel: God is with us (Matthew 1:23).
Secondly, it is through Jesus that we are given the opportunity to become children of God and to be adopted into God’s family (1 John 3:1). Jesus’s mission, when on Earth, was to bring us into that very intimate relationship with God—one of parent and child (John 14:6). No matter how far we may have strayed from God, or what we may have done in life, God—in his love—will accept us into his family when we turn to him through Jesus. The story of the prodigal son gives us insight into the love of God as Father. It tells of a father who waits with longing and anticipation for a child to come home, and then of a certain fatherly joy and compassion, and a wholehearted embrace of that wayward child (Luke 15:11-24).
I encourage you now, before the year continues, to spend the next five minutes with your heavenly Father. Click here for directions.
Photo credit: Flickr