As we are in the midst of the Christmas season and what some Christians call Advent, I have been looking for scripture that isn’t normally associated with this season but perhaps should be. The first one I’ve come to is I Peter 1 and 2. During this season, most of the scripture with which we are familiar is found in Matthew and Luke, as well as Old Testament prophecy about the coming of the Messiah. I Peter is somewhat different.
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, throughout the living and enduring word of God…Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (I Peter 1:22-2:3, NIV)
Though a different kind of Christmas scripture, our prayers and meditations during the season are often concerned with newborn babies. We remember the newborn Christ child. The births of our own children during Christmas may very well take on added significance. We may not think about our own rebirths (being born again), but perhaps we should make this part of our Christmas celebration. As I Peter says, when we’re born again, our births are of imperishable seed, causing us to crave spiritual milk like newborn babies crave their mothers’ milk and allowing us to grow in our salvation–salvation that comes through Christ
This should remind us of the last part of the Christmas story in Luke 2:40: “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” Because children are such a big, wonderful part of Christmas, we should also be reminded of something Jesus said as he conducted his adult ministry. When his disciples thought that a group of little children were bothering Jesus, he set them straight and explained the essence of a child: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
During Christmas and Advent, we should give thanks for baby Jesus, cherish our own children, and celebrate being born again. We should put away all malice, and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander, allowing our lives to be ruled by sincere love for one another–deep love from the heart. That’s a big part of what Christ’s birth is all about.