The entire Christmas story has one focus—one affirmation—that’s constantly kept before us “Jesus is the Son of God.”

  • The Annunciation to Mary by the angel Gabriel is that she will bear a son who will be the child of God.
  • Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose own child leaps in her womb as a greeting to the one who is God’s Son.
  • Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem to, in part, fulfill the ancient prediction that the Son of God would be born in the City of David.
  • An angel approached the shepherds, keeping watch over their flocks by night—proclaiming the birth of the Son of God who is to be found, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and lying in a manger.
  • The Feast of the Epiphany today, concludes the Christmas season with the story of the visit of the Magi, the coming of the Wisemen to the Bethlehem to worship the Son of God and to present him with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And next week, we will hear the Gospel of the Baptism of Jesus. He went to his Cousin John, the Baptizer, to be baptized in the Jordan River. The text says

  • . . 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavenstorn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved;*with you I am well pleased.’ -­‐-­‐Mark 1:10-­‐11

The whole story has but this one theme – one message: Jesus is the child of God.

Now we could rest content with that—leave the story right there. A beautiful tale it is—burned into our hearts and minds by the biblical texts and the melodies of the carols.

But we’ll be completely remiss if we don’t pause to write ourselves into the Christmas story. Although it’s all about Jesus—Jesus is all about us. The purpose of the Incarnation of God—the enfleshment of God among us human beings—is to sanctify our humanity.

Jesus is the child of God.

You and I are children of God.

Isaiah the prophet wrote about us many years before Jesus:

  • I have called you by name. (43:1)
  • You are precious in my sight, honored, and I love you. (43:4)

The Epistle to the Galatians put it even more clearly:

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. (4:4-­‐7)

Henri Nouwen was one of the more insightful spiritual persons of the twentieth century. In his beautiful little book, Life of the Beloved, he reminds us that the same words spoken about Jesus at his baptism are spoken of us: You are my Son, theBeloved; with you I am well pleased.

Nouwen wrote:

We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children, and friends loved or wounded us. That’s the truth of our lives. That’s the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That’s the truth spoken by the voice that says, “You are my Beloved.” (p. 36-37)

Baptism is the outward and visible sign, through water and the mark of the cross, of the inward and spiritual grace that we are God’s heirs. Jesus is the child/the Beloved of God. I am a child/loved by God. You are a child of God/beloved of God.

And that brings us to the greater realization that if you and I are children of God, loved by God, so is everyone else! This is the great Dream of God – that we all recognize that we have the same father—the same mother—the same divine source.

As Bishop Desmond Tutu, former Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, once said: “More important than being my brother’s keeper is being my brother’s brother.”

All of us on this planet are brothers and sisters. The Dream of God is that it makes no difference what religious tradition we might follow . . . Moslem, Christian, Jew, Hindu, Buddhist, nativist, atheist . . . God loves us all, and we are to do no less. All the other divisions: nationality, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, class – all of these disappear in the eyes of God—so should they disappear in our eyes as well.

Jesus is the child of God.

You and I are children of God.

All people are children of God!

Owen Adam, “You are God’s son, the Beloved. With you God is well pleased.”

Leave a Comment