ALMIGHTY and Everlasting God, direct our actions according to Thy good pleasure, that in the Name of Thy beloved Son, we may be made to abound in good works; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
-- Common Service Book of the Lutheran Church
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
--Galatians 4:1–7 (NKJV)
Don't let the world fool you, Christmas isn't over yet. In fact, we are only a few days into the twelve days of the Christmas celebration. You didn't think that was just a silly song, did you? No, the celebration of the Christmas feast lasts twelve days, from Christmas until Epiphany. So despite the fact that if you were to go into Target today, you'd find Valentine's Day decor up already, it is still Christmas. Enjoy it!
Today's collect and Epistle reading direct us to rejoice in our relationship to God the Father--as adopted children by virtue of the life and work of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son. We are not in bondage to the Law, but strive to do good works for our neighbor out of love and gratitude for the work Christ has done on our behalf. Though struggling each day to throw off the sin that still dwells within us, we are no longer in bondage to it. That lifelong battle is called sanctification . We are no longer slaves to sin or the Law, but beloved children, created for good works! Our prayer today is that God would guide and direct us toward those works that are beneficial to our neighbors and pleasing to him. Even as we struggle to do what is good, we can rely on God to strengthen, guide, and keep us all along the way. Thanks be to God.
Photo by Ilya Orehov on Unsplash