DECEMBER 5, 2018
The Holy Family and the Family of God
During the Christmas season, we remember and celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God. We read and re-read the beautiful stories about the holy family in Matthew and Luke. We erect nativity scenes with Mary, Joseph, and Jesus huddled in a manger surrounded by shepherds, magi and farm animals. With a sense of reverence and a wistful imagining of what that night must have been like, we sing hymns and songs about the birth of God’s son in this most unique of human families.
Often read alongside the great stories of Matthew and Luke is the prologue of John’s gospel. John opens his story about Jesus by explaining how Jesus relates to God and to the whole created order. “In the beginning was the Word…” leads us to read all that follows in John’s gospel as the account of God himself entering his own creation to create life anew through relationship with the Triune God.
Notably, however, the prologue of John builds to a climax in vv. 12-13 in which the focus shifts from Jesus to his people and the salvation he has brought about for them: “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (ESV). John is eager to remind us that the coming of Jesus into the world brought about the possibility of becoming sons and daughters in the family of God.
When we read the stories about the holy family this Christmas season, let us remember that the purposes for which God sent Jesus into that family were that we all might become members of his own family and know him as our Father.
Gerry Wheaton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of New Testament