2015 | Week of December 21 | #1129
Family is the very heart of Christmas. Consider the greatest gift ever given—the unspeakable gift of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Who is the only-begotten Son of God the Father. In His incarnation, this Son was born into an earthly family of a married dad and mom. The Creator God Who designed marriage and family would have it no other way.
Perhaps the significance of this is easy to miss because we know the story so well or because this family structure used to be recognized as the norm. Mary was unmarried (though engaged) when Jesus was supernaturally conceived. God told Joseph to go ahead and wed Mary, thereby insuring Jesus would be born into a family reflecting God’s standard and design.
Family structure matters to God. His plan for the family is for His glory and our good and is both simple and beautiful.
Historically and cross-culturally, family has been a married dad and mom who raise any children blessed to their union. This structure provides great blessings for men, women and children. Tampering with God’s design only results in damaged lives. On a larger scale tampering with this plan will damage human flourishing.
God’s plan for the family is something we should regularly talk about, encourage, celebrate, honor and most importantly follow. Many blessings come from doing family God’s way. Because of God’s “common grace,” many of these blessings are enjoyed by believer and unbeliever alike.
When God commented on the handiwork of His creation, He declared it was good. But He also said it was “not good that the man should be alone.” And so God made Woman to complete Man. Marriage is a relationship created and blessed by God for the benefit of men and women everywhere. When Jesus reiterated that God created male and female, He also clearly stated, as recorded in Matthew 19, that marriage creates a “one flesh” kind of union, and that it is supposed to be permanent in nature. Let’s consider God’s divine plan and His divine order.
Woman is man’s completer. When God gave Eve to Adam, He gave Adam one who was “meet” or “fit” for him. She completed him in a way that nothing else could. A good woman brings out the best in a man. She is a constant reminder that he is not to live for himself, but for others, and for the God who created both of them.
God designed man to be woman’s head, as we read in I Corinthians 11. While this message is not a popular one in our culture, the truth is men are to be the leaders in the home. It isn’t a matter of superiority or patriarchy or subservience or power, but a matter of order. By the way, God’s order doesn’t mean women are doormats for men. However, when we abandon God’s plan problems invariably result. It might be popular to think we know more than God, but that approach always leads to disaster.
And parents—well, parents are God’s gift to children. Parents are to love their children, nurture them, protect them, and in short, enable them to flourish. If parents do their jobs well, they give their children both roots and wings—a solid foundation and safe home-base, but also the ability to “fly solo.”
Jesus, the God-Man, willingly submitted to God’s structure for the family, thereby placing His stamp of approval on it. For example, as a young man of only 12 while in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus’s parents found Him in the tabernacle as He explained, necessarily doing the work of God the Father, yet verses later in that same portion of Luke 2 tell us He was subject to His earthly parents.
The truth is when we do family well and right, there is no greater blessing or sense of fulfillment. When we get it wrong, there is no greater regret. Doing marriage and family according to God’s plan actually gives us a taste of heaven on earth.
This week as we celebrate God’s greatest gift to man, the gift of His Son to be our Redeemer, let’s also celebrate God’s great gift of family. And let’s recommit to giving our children and our children’s children the great gift of a good example and the blessings that come from honoring, respecting and submitting to God’s amazing plan for marriage and family.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, wishing you and your family a wonderful and God-blessed Christmas, and reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”