Advent Week 3
Week Three: Eternal Father
This week, seek to carry around within you an awareness that Jesus is YOUR Eternal Father. Ask God for wisdom and guidance throughout your day and recall to your mind from time to time that Jesus is YOUR Eternal Father.
“Eternal Father” is not a phrase we tend to associate with Jesus and for good reason. Throughout the Gospels Jesus refers to God as Father, his Father (Abba/Daddy), and prays to God as such, thus differentiating between Jesus and the Eternal Father God. However, here in our passage, which is clearly giving us names/titles that express the essence of who Jesus is, we come across the title, “Eternal Father”. As I have explored this I came across the explanation below:
“For the title of Eternal Father, this is quite naturally taken to refer to Jesus' role as the last Adam. (1Cor. 15:45) The first Adam is the father of us all. He has given us all life, but it is a temporary, sinful life. On the other hand, by His sacrifice, Jesus has given us life as well. This life is an eternal life, and so He would appropriately be identified as our eternal Father.“
I think this indeed could be a valid explanation. Yet I believe the following fact about Jesus, who came to earth to show us the Father, also has validity: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only (referring to Jesus), who is at the Father’s side, has made God known”. Jesus reveals to us the essence of the ‘fatherness’ of God and thus could rightly be spoken of as our Eternal Father in a metaphorical sense as well as in the way stated above.
The above will be something for you to ponder in addition to the mediations below.
Day One: Today we will spend time sitting with one of the words contained in the title, “Eternal Father”: Eternal.
The word ‘Eternal’ denotes being without beginning or end; existing outside of time, continuing without interruption; perpetual. Some synonyms would be infinite, ageless and continual.
When I think of the word ‘eternal’ I have no problem thinking that God exists forever from this point forward. But when I think about the word eternal pointing not only forward but also backwards into forever, my brain begins to quiver and then eventually locks up. The idea that God is eternal, without beginning or end, always was and always will be, is too much for my finite brain to comprehend. I am afraid that if I think too long on such things my brain will simply explode. All this reminds me of the words contained in Psalm 131:1-2:
“My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
The eternality of Jesus reminds me of the mystery and otherness of God. It points to the wonder of Jesus taking on finite form, walking among us. Emmanuel, The Eternal God, without beginning or end, with us, within us. WOW!
Take some time to ponder the eternality of God. Allow your mind to interact with this truth and allow yourself to gradually grow silent as you consider this mind-blowing reality and sink into the words of Psalm 131:
But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
Simply be still in the wondrous presence of God, experiencing God beyond words and concepts. Be still and sit wordlessly on the eternal lap of God.
After awhile, interact with the following:
What were the feelings inside you as you sat with the eternalness of God? How did that experience make you feel? Why? What does it stir within you today as you reflect on it? Why?
Revisit the eternal nature of God, thanking God and asking God to give you a sense of God’s eternality as you enter into this week of the Advent season.
At the end of the day ask yourself; did I allow myself to ponder the eternality of God today? If yes, when? How did it make me feel? How did it make me feel toward God, toward life?
If no, then ask; what was it about me, my day, my life that might have hindered me from pondering the eternality of God? Bring this before God.
Day Two: Today we will spend time sitting with the second word contained in the title, “Eternal Father”: Father.
The word ‘Father ’ means…instead of defining this word, think through what comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Father ’- what words, feelings, and thoughts spring forth within you as you think of God as Father (Parent)?
If it is difficult for you to consider the fatherhood of God because of past wounds, please share your hurt and pain with God and please feel free to use the idea of parenthood rather than fatherhood. If considering the parenthood of God is also troubling spend your time acknowledging your woundedness and sharing your pain, hurt, questions, anger…with God seeking to be keep in mind that God is gracious, loving and full of mercy.
For me, focusing on God as father is very special. I think this is because I was adopted. I could have been aborted, dumped into a trashcan and left to die. Or I could have been raised in an orphanage. But I was not. Instead I was adopted at birth by two people who wanted me, who desired to love me, who desired to care for me. When I became a Christian and was told that I was now a child of God, that God was my Father, my Daddy, this all made perfect sense to me. I was chosen by God because God wanted me, desired to love me, care for me, and provide for me in ways that I was unable to do for myself. When I look at Jesus’ life and watch the care, love, tenderness, toughness, power and provision he displayed through his interactions with others and through his miracles, I am reminded what God my Father (Parent) is like.
Spend some time thinking through the life of Jesus and how his interactions with others and his miracles demonstrate regarding what God your Father (Parent) is like. To what fatherly characteristics that Jesus manifests are you most drawn? Why?
When you think of the fatherhood (parenthood) of God and you being adopted by God, what are the feelings, the thoughts, and the words that surface within you? How does this make you feel? Why?
Romans 8:15-16 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…”
At the end of the day ask yourself; did I experience God as father (caring parent) today? If yes, when? How did it make me feel? How did it make me feel toward God, toward life, toward others?
If no, then ask; what was it about me, my day, my life that might have hindered my ability to see and experience the fatherhood (parenthood) of God? Bring this before God.
Day Three: What does this title, “Eternal Father (Parent)” convey to you about: who God is? God’s involvement/role in your life? How does this title make you feel toward God? Have you ever experienced God in this way? If yes, when? How has that impacted you and the way you live life? If the answer is no, how does that make you feel toward God, toward yourself? Regardless of your answer (yes or no), share with God your feelings toward God about your experience or lack of experience of God as your Eternal Father (Parent).
Seek to be present to the reality of God’s presence with you as your Eternal Father (Parent), bringing to mind the characteristics of God’s fatherhood to which you are most drawn (see day two). Allow this awareness to birth an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude throughout your day.
At the end of the day ask yourself; was I aware of my Eternal Father (Parent) today? If yes, when? How did it make me feel? How did it make me feel toward God, toward life, toward others?
If no, then ask; what was it about me, my day, my life that might have hindered my ability to connect with my Eternal Father (Parent) today? Share this with God.
Day Four: (you will need a blanket)
God is our Eternal Father (Parent) who loves us into this moment and the next, for God is love. The love of our Eternal Father (Parent) not only stands the test of time but also exists outside of time. Since God is love and eternal, there has never been a time when there was not love, when God was not loving. The love of our Eternal Father (Parent) not only transcends time but also transcends all. It cannot be diminished by anything you have done or anything that has been done to you: “NO THING, NOTHING, can separate you from the love of God”.
Today you are invited to merely ponder and sink into the truth of your Eternal Father’s (Parent’s) unconditional, nothing can separate you from it, love. To help you better be able to imagine this incredible love, wrap the blanket around yourself and let that be a physical reminder of how the love of your Eternal Father is wrapped around you every moment of every day. Please feel free to walk around, lie down, and/or sit in a comfortable chair, all the time pulling the blanket around you and recalling to mind the wondrous love your Eternal Father (Parent) has for you. Do not be afraid to walk outside, especially if it is cold, to do this exercise.
As you continue throughout your day please recall to mind the amazing love your Eternal Father (Parent) has for you, a love that was involved in the sending of Jesus to earth, a love wrapped up in the flesh of a baby and gently laid in a manger.
At the end of the day ask yourself; was I able to be present to the love of my Eternal Father (Parent) today? If yes, when? How did it make me feel? How did it make me feel toward God, toward life, toward others?
If no, then ask; what was it about me, my day, my life that might have hindered my ability to be present to the love of my Eternal Father (Parent) today?
Day Five: Review. Look back over the past four days: what stands out to you, what were you drawn to in the meditations, what was difficult for you to embrace? Why? What feelings were stirred within you the last few days regarding God being your Eternal Father? What might be God’s invitation and/or challenge for you that is contained in this title?
Where do you see the characteristics of God as Eternal Father (Parent) in the Christmas story? How does this realization change or deepen your appreciation of the Christmas story? Why?
At the end of the day ask yourself; how did I experience God as my Eternal Father (Parent) today? How did it make me feel? How did it make me feel toward God, toward life as I embraced the truth that God is my Eternal Father (Parent)?
Bring all this before God and, being still, silently linger in God’s unconditional love and grace.
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