Many of us have gone to our ancestral homes – or are still there – over the holidays with extended family. These can be wonderful, and sometimes less-than-wonderful, times of discovering something of our identity. It could be something about the origin of simple traditions that make life colorful – like this year learning about the great-great-great-aunt who bequeathed us the recipe for biscuits that we still use on Christmas Eve. My grandmother told us that Aunt Mary was a “short lady who was pretty good sized and really liked her biscuits!” That’s the kind of ancestor you want to learn biscuit recipes from…and the kind of ancestor you want to learn to learn moderation from.
Or, we might ask deeper questions. Who are we? Where did we come from? What is in our background? It helps us understand who we are in the present. If you are with grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, you might be asking some of those kinds of questions about your identity this year.
Jesus identity mattered too. When Jesus was born, he came into the world through his ancestral home of Bethlehem. Caesar Augustus may have thought he was directing the census recorded in Luke 2, but God the Father was sending his Son to be born in the city of David to prove that Jesus was of the house and linage of David. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became truly and fully man – the promised seed of the woman of Genesis 3 and promised Son who would sit on David’s throne forever.
Jesus identity is clear. He knew and knows who he was and is. We know who he is. He took human flesh and became united to us with a birth like ours, with a life like ours, and with a death like ours, all so that we might become united to him and have a resurrection like his. Only through faith can a person be united to Jesus, have his sin forgiven, and find a new identity. The Bible repeatedly describes the most important identity a person can have with the words "in Christ." Those who are in Christ have had their relationship restored with their Creator. Second Corinthians 5:17 says it most clearly, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come.”
Who are you? You might spend rich times with family this week and learn more of who you are in a temporal sense. You might spend the week rather lonely apart from family or having no family at all. Whatever the case, the best question to ask is "who am I ultimately?" Whatever your earthly station in life, remember that if you are in Christ, you are loved by God, and you have an identity that can never be taken away.
Along these lines, please pray for our presbytery’s youth winter conference which begins on Monday. The conference title is: “Finding Your Identity in Christ Alone.” Pray for Pastor Ian Wise as he speaks and for the students who will gather. Pray that these young people would indeed find their identity in Christ alone.