The following is the third in a four part series on preparing your heart for the Christmas Season. It has been adapted from a sermon called “Preparing Your Heart for the Christmas Season” delivered at Hope Community Church by Steve Treichler on November 30, 2003.
What does it mean for God to be the Everlasting Father? I (Nolan) think for a long time, the phrase “God the Father” was something I called God but not something I really understood. This might also be you. For many of us we can intuitively assume that God the Father is very much like the father-figures we have had in our own lives. For some, that means we might think of God the Father as being similar to the loving and present father we have. For others, it means we might think of God the Father as being distant or angry. In both cases, God the Everlasting Father, is greater than both our earthly father-figure’s strengths and shortcomings. What does that look like?
“Father” is an endearing term meaning that points to the truth that he has fatherlike compassion in God quantity. In other words, love. How does God the Father demonstrate his love towards us? Here are just a few ways:
- Taking us in, even when our own parents reject us: Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. (Psalm 27:10)
- Sacrificing the things he loves for our ultimate benefit: …God shows his love for us in that while we we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- Comforts us: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
- Listens to us, even when we’re not sure how to say it: …your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:8)
Did you feel like your father-figure was too busy to care about the cool thing you did on a given day? God the Father will sit and listen because he cares.
Did your father-figure demonstrate sacrificing personal preferences for the good of your family? God the Father also sacrificed his preferences and own son for the good of his own family.
Did your father-figure abandon you and leave you all alone? When you were participating at a sporting or school event, is all you could see the empty chair where you wanted him to be? God the Father has not left you, and never will.
Calling God “Father” isn’t just religious jargon. It’s who he is to us who are in Christ. We, like Jesus, can call out “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6). God is our Dad. We can call out to him “Dad, I need you!”. That’s the closeness of relationship the word “Abba” describes. It’s not a formal term, but one of endearment and closeness.
Long ago with my (Steve) son Calvin, we ate at McDonalds one night. He waved at me and kept looking at me with a smile on his face. I thought to myself, “I am hopelessly in love with my son.” I love him with a love that I would die for him if necessary, God willing. That is a taste of God’s love for you. That is a drop in the bucket of the bucket God has for you. I love to be loved.
Will you allow God the Father, Abba Father, Everlasting Father, Dad to pour his everlasting love on you?