REDISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PATH THROUGH ADVENT—Week of December 5, 2021
Love Children: Jas. 1:27; Rom. 8:14-17
As we continue examining Benedict’s rules for Christian formation through the lens of Advent, this week we’ll look at Rule 4.71: Love Children. In Advent we remember that God’s rescue of mankind begins with a Child, born of a virgin, and humbly laid in a manger. Though we think of this as the season of “peace, goodwill toward men”, it is important to remember that in the Christmas story this Child is rejected by those He came to redeem. Though He comes to bring mercy, His own people show no mercy in their attempt to destroy Him. Yet, despite such rejection and hatred, this Child’s love for us never ceases.
As followers of Christ, our love of and care for the next generation should be an example to all. It should be an earthly reflection of our Heavenly Father, who was not willing to leave us as orphans but instead gave His only Son to redeem us from our sin. In Romans 8:14-17, we read how we have been adopted. In Roman culture, there was a key distinction between an adopted child and a natural born child. A natural born child could be rejected by his father, but once a child had been adopted, he could never be disowned by his father. Even better, while a natural born child had to wait until adulthood to inherit his rights as a child, an adopted child was fully vested in his rights the moment he was adopted. Thus, in God declaring we have been adopted by Him, He is declaring that we will never be rejected by Him and our inheritance in Jesus is secure.
1. Imagine you are there in the stable with Mary, Joseph, and the infant Jesus. As you look on His face and consider all that He gave up to rescue you, how does that make you feel? What would you like to tell Him?
2. Read Romans 8:14-17 in light of the context of Roman adoption. Does that context change your view of God’s love for you and the sureness of your salvation?
3. How can we show God’s love to the next generation? Think through this question in the light of your family, your church, and your community.
4. In the Christmas season, the emphasis is often on gift-giving. What are some creative ways our gift-giving can reflect the Father’s love for us and our call to love and serve the next generation?
5. Looking beyond this season, what are some practical ways you can express love and care for the next generation throughout the year?