For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Early in the morning, I wake and quietly make my way to the gray wing chair in my home office. I’m determined to be productive in these precious predawn hours.
Only a few minutes into my routine, however, the door next to me slowly opens and my 4-year-old son walks in, bleary-eyed. All he wants to do is crawl into my lap and put a tired head on my shoulder. My plans for this moment are spoiled, but I couldn’t care less. Why? Because I’m this boy’s father, and he’s my son, and that’s enough to make me welcome his intrusion with joy.
One of the reasons we miss drinking more deeply of God’s love is that we forget to think of him as Father. We may know it’s true because we’ve read our Bibles, but our intuitions still imagine God as a more distant figure. This isn’t merely a shortcoming in our thinking; it’s a tragic distortion of our view of God.
“Father” isn’t a random nickname for God. It’s who God fundamentally is. He is Father. God the Father has eternally begotten God the Son. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father.” Why? Theologian Michael Reeves puts it like this: “This is who God has revealed himself to be: not first and foremost Creator or Ruler, but Father.”
One of the reasons we miss drinking more deeply of God’s love is that we forget to think of him as Father.
Not all of us have fathers who loved and protected us. For many, the word “father” is a pain, not a comfort. God sees this pain. He is the perfect Father, the One our hearts were made to know.
Understanding the perfect, fatherly character of God awakens the love of God in us. Jesus reminded us: if even sinful human fathers can genuinely love their children, our heavenly Father is infinitely more eager to shower unfathomable riches of love on us (Matt. 7:11). We’re not tolerated employees or hired hands but adopted sons of the Father (Rom. 8:15).
God’s love for his people isn’t something he was manipulated or forced into feeling. God the Father, in his perfect, insurmountable fatherly compassion, sent his only begotten Son to the world to die so that dying spiritual orphans, enslaved to sin, could become his children and hear their Father singing over them (Zeph. 3:17). Savor your position in the household of God—he delights in you, he loves you, and he welcomes you into his presence.
When we look at the Christmas manger, we need to see more than a baby. We need to see a heavenly Father, the One who gave his only Son to us so we might become adopted sons and daughters. Could a Father this good, who gave this much, be anything but perfect for our weary, sinful, broken hearts?
How does knowing God as Father change how you feel toward him? How does it change what you think he feels toward you?
Of the Father’s love begotten,
Ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega,
He the source, the ending he,
Of the things that are and have been,
And that future years shall see,
Evermore and evermore.
– Prudentius (trans. J. M. Neale), “Of the Father’s Love Begotten”