Advent 2015 // Love of the Father

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”John 1:1-3

Christmas Day is quickly approaching. Some of us are preparing to spend time with family or we are already with them. Celebrating holidays is often filled with joy, but for many it also brings anxiety and difficult relationships. For others it's somewhat of a lonely holiday as neither family nor friends seem to share the same understanding of what Christmas is truly about. I hope and pray Advent has already been fruitful for you, but these last few days are often even more difficult to continue focusing on Christ.

To begin this week, I want to share a quick story I heard recently about a man named Matthew Johnson from Oceanside, CA. There was a woman at the grocery store who had a little baby with her, and she was checking out at the register late at night. A line started to form behind her as she realized her credit card wasn't working, and she couldn't find her debit card anywhere. Not having enough cash in her purse to pay for everything, she began to grow anxious and the people behind her became impatient. Matthew Johnson happened to see what was going on and said, “Here, let me take care of it.” She tried to stop him, but he insisted.

“Please don't worry about it, I'll take care of it,” he said as he handed the card to the cashier. The woman was so grateful and managed to get his name and place of work. The next day she called the fitness center at which he was an employee, and she asked to speak with Matthew Johnson. The man on the other end began to cry and said, “You didn't hear. Last night Matthew was killed in a car accident.”

This powerful story struck me because of its simplicity. Matthew's small act of love, his small gesture of kindness and selflessness, became light to this woman's life. It also happened to be one of the last things he did before the Lord called him home. Even though it probably seemed so inconsequential at the time, it was worth it. In fact, there is never a time when our small acts of love are not worth it.

And that is where I would like to begin. It is fitting to focus on love for the last week of Advent, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son” John 3:16

Really, Christmas is all about the love God has for us.

The posts for this week will focus on love of the Father, love of self, love of the Spirit, love of Mary, and love of Jesus. I believe these themes will help us delve into what it means to be a daughter of light – the Light of the world being our Savior Jesus Christ – and how we can live that out through love. These reflections do not have to be done in order, so I encouage you to spend time on one or the other that sticks out to you and come back to another later. Also, the primary Bible verses for each post are taken from John 1:1:18 which is the Gospel reading for Christmas Day. 

I decided to begin with love of God the Father because of John 1:1-3

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.”

Nothing came to be without God. I cannot breathe, the world cannot spin, and you cannot be alive without him.

As women, we may have different ideas or different relationships with God the Father from one another. Some of us never knew our human fathers, so we don't have any reference for what a father's love should look like. Some of us were deeply hurt or abandoned, so we are angry and can't forgive God the Father. Others of us have had beautiful relationships with our fathers and therefore flee to our Father in heaven with full faith and no inhibitions.

However you describe God the Father – judge, ruler, king, punishing, loving, merciful, just – it is important to remember that we are called to be

“perfect just as your heavenly father is perfect” Matthew 5:48

 In other words, we are called to imitate him. We are called to be lights in this world by showing God's justice and mercy. But we are also called to be his daughters, and we can't truly know who we are as daughters without knowing who he is as our Father. Our daughterness comes from the fact that we have a father, each one inherenty tied to the other.

It is only from understanding the Father's love for us and loving him with all our heart that we can begin to love ourselves and those around us

Study Questions

What does it mean to be daughter?

How do I feel God the Father sees me in my “daughterness?”

How can my love for God the Father be a light to others this Christmas?

This year's study journal is broken into 4 parts. 

To view each, please scroll to the middle of the above link