Read John 1:11-13.
Family. A word that holds promise for some, but a world of pain for others. Family. Where our sweetest joys can be found, as well as where our deepest scars can exist.
Many of us are carrying burdens and hurts from strained family relationships. We may desire to be in close relationship with family but may realize that desire is not reciprocated. Or perhaps we’ve been hurt too often and there doesn’t seem to be any hope for reconciliation. Why does family strife hurt so much. Why do we place such high hopes upon family and why can we feel such deep sorrow over familial estrangement? I believe it goes back to the garden where perfect relationship flourished between man and woman. But sin tarnished the design of family. Brother killing brother. Families split over pride, jealousy, and anger – so totally opposite of how our loving God purposed for his creation to live and work together in peace and right relationship.
Our hearts burn for a return to what was: relationships built of truth, peace, and intimate engagement. Yet, we live in a world where that is often not a reality. Even Jesus can relate to the pain and disappointment we may feel in our families. He was rejected by his own brothers who did not place their faith in him and even betrayed and denied him. He knows what relational pain feels like.
But there is hope. At Christmas we remember there is hope. God is redeeming this world and he is redeeming family through Jesus. As we’ve reflected on this week, we are adopted into a new family. An eternal family. And our new family will live together in peace, without sin or tears or pain or disunity for the rest of time.
REFLECT + RESPOND
Does a certain family relationship seem impossible for Jesus to redeem? Ask the Holy Spirit to direct your prayer for that person. Would you be willing to commit to praying for that person each day this coming week?
By Ellen Rosenberger