See what great love the Father has lavished on us, so that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is, that it did not know him.

(1 John 3, 1)

 

Dear Readers,

 

when you remember your childhood, what memories come back? What feelings?  Did your parents love you?  I am convinced that love or rejection plays a crucial role during your whole life. Every child longs for love. It needs warmth and security from the nest.  It needs comfort. It needs help.

 

The importance of love for a child has become visible to me again in the last couple of months. I happen to know a family with four children. The couple has two children of their own, an adopted child and a small foster child. I call her "Emma" (which is currently a popular girl's name in Germany). Little Emma is often ill. A sick child can be demanding for parents day and night. The little, sick Emma also needs the care of the foster parents. And she gets what she needs. The parents take care of this child with complete devotion. Just as they do with the adopted child and their own children. They love the little sick girl as much as they love the other children. They don´t want to return the child back to the youth welfare office just because of the current burden. They do not want Emma to grow up in a home, but to experience the love of a family.

 

Christmas, as we often state, is the “Festival of Love”. We visit each other wherever possible. We provide presents to each other. We pay attention to each other. We take ourselves time. This is exactly the way how our God does it. He turns to us human beings. He shows us his love. He presents his Son Jesus, the Messiah, like a “present” for us. In a small child, God's love comes to us in person.

 

But God does not stop there. God not only loves his Son, but he loves you too! He provides all his love for us and transforms us into his children. He hears us when we call on him in difficult hours: “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Ps. 50, 15). God is a God "who sees me", who perceives me (Genesis 16, 13). God is a God who comforts me when I am in the mood of crying. "Like a mother comforts her child, I will comfort you” (Is. 66, 13).

 

By our nature we are not really what seems to be a child of God. We do find it strange as a natural man to be called a child of God. A natural person doesn´t understand this. We are however children of God because God has called us: "But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43, 1). We have been allowed to hear this invitation and were able to walk the way to the manger and to the cross as well.

 

Little Emma could not choose her foster parents. She had no choice whether she would grow up in a family or in a children's home. It was a married couple who said YES to her. Thanks be to God.

 

But we have the choice to say YES to God's love. God does not patronize us. We are free to choose. 

In the stable of Bethlehem, God shows us his love. Every man may come to the place of Christ´s birth, no matter where she comes from or who he is. All are invited to come to the child in the stable. All people are invited to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, just like the shepherds or the astrologers from the East. Through Jesus Christ we have become God's children and are free to say to the almighty God: Dear Father in heaven. I thank you that you love me and that I can be your child.

 

I wish you that the love of God gives your heart comfort and hope, that you may experience security and peace. God bless you!

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© 2021 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main