Beloved, we are God’s children now…
What a startling proclamation we hear in today’s first reading! After weeks of family dinners, workplace parties, social gatherings, sporting events and other holiday festivities this comes as very welcome news! Celebrations with loved ones during the Christmas season can remind us of who we are, to whom we belong, and where we call "home", but they can also raise disturbing feelings and questions, e.g. “I must have been adopted”, “Who are these people?”, “I just don’t seem to fit in here”, “Are we really related?” We may doubt to whom we belong.
The first reading assures us that we belong to God… not that we are owned by God in the way a book, or my clothes, belong to me, but rather that we are so connected, so attached to God that our very identity is found in God. It is difficult to find words for this mysterious truth.
In John’s gospel, John the Baptist has a similar difficulty… how to describe Jesus as the One; the Messiah? He reveals Jesus as the one on whom the Spirit "comes down like a dove and remains upon him;" the "Son of God." Jesus is the one who is so embraced by God that there is this inexplicable “indwelling”.
Today’s readings remind us that in Christ we know who we are, to whom we belong and whom we are called to be; we are invited to acknowledge our identity as children of one God and our indwelling in God through the Holy Spirit.
In this New Year, may our stellar personalities and behavior reveal the radiance of Christ; may others see that not only are we made in the image and likeness of God, but that our lives also echo the truth of our “indwelling” in God.
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