The incarnation means that the Father of Jesus refused to give up on us. Today’s news is full of reports of an American Father, David Goldman being reunited with his son, Sean, who was kidnapped and held in Brazil for more than half of his life. For this Father it was unthinkable to “move on;” unimaginable to forget about Sean and to turn his focus to other things.
But the problem is messy in two ways: legally and relationally. Legally, David Goldman battled for years to establish his claim over Sean and to answer any argument that would say otherwise. In the story of God, that battle took place on the cross when Jesus shattered every claim the Enemy had over our lives through sin.
But an equally difficult challenge, in the case of nine year old Sean, will be the reestablishing of a relationship with a Father who has been maligned by five years of indoctrination by his adulterous Mother and stepfather. Last night’s news gave a name for it that made me sit up and say “That’s the problem of the human race!” Parental Alienation Syndrome is what happens when a child, separated from a parent, begins an unjustified campaign to vilify the parent. It happens through indoctrination as well as in the imagination of the child himself.
What a perfect description of the human race, lost in a jungle of religion that slanders God and paints him in harsh, demanding terms. As I write this David is sitting on an airplane trying to regain the trust and affection of a nine year old who has been programmed with alien ideas about his Dad. I wish him well in what may be a long journey. In the case of mankind, Father approached this tragedy by sending Jesus to mirror his staggering love and affection towards us, and then to declare “The person who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9)
This Christmas I rejoice in two great realities: I am no longer alone, and Jesus has shown me the true face of my Father. I pray that you will allow the God who has come near to put his arm around you and pull you close.