I first have to thank so many of you for making this Christmas so memorable. I thought the Christmas Eve service went wonderfully and the food and fellowship afterward was a delight. Sherry and I had a restful Christmas and I have sworn off candy for the rest of the year. That is I will swear it off as soon as I have eaten all the candy we have stockpiled. Of course there are only like four days left in the year.
There is a huge amount of theology in this gospel passage from John. He talks about creation and how God or the Word was there in the beginning and how all things came from God. He says, “there is not one thing that did not come from God.”
In today's gospel reading John talks about, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” Deeper into this reading John says, “all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
What does that mean to be a child of God. I am not sure. Many years ago, my aunt took my oldest son Louie to a Presbyterian church service. It was a pretty big congregation and was even televised on the local television station. They had a children's sermon kind of like we do here. The minister had gathered all the children in the front and he began talking to them about bad people.
I wasn't at the service so all of my information is second hand and it is from a fairly unreliable source but here is what I was told. The minister was telling the children that bad people have turned away from God and he asked them what they thought of that. Louie piped up and said, “my dad says there is a little bit of God in everyone.” I don't think that is the direction the minister wanted to take the discussion but he recovered and said, “that's true”. I have really no idea what he said after that.
Both Paul in his letter to the Galatians and John refer to us as children of God. Again, what does that mean to be a child of God? What is the nature of a parent and what is the nature of a child.
I made a list:
nurture, protect, guide, love, allow the child to learn
occasionally misbehave, trust, love, obedient, learn
So here we are as children of God. We are to trust, love, learn and be obedient.
I think another important part is recognize that the people around us are children of God as well and that is not always easy because all children of God occasionally misbehave. It's kind of like that child and parent in front of you in the grocery line. The child starts making a fuss and you wish the parent would just fix him or her.
That is the real challenge isn't it. To love all of the children of God even when they are misbehaving.Maybe we should first learn to tolerate all of God's children and work our way up to loving them.