Rev. Langerak is pastor of Southeast Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
For unto us a child is born. What reason for the church, especially believing parents and their children, to celebrate! Because a child is born unto us, children born of us are saved! But sadly, this good news is lost on many Christians, even mothers and fathers. Though perhaps ecstatic that Jehovah saves by this child born unto us, they suppose that children born of us are denied that salvation. The Father who loved, nurtured, and delivered His own child Jesus, supposedly does not do the same for our children. The Father who gave the covenant sign of that love to His child will not allow us to do the same for our children. For unto us (adults) a child is born. Strange Father.
Fact is, the Father of the child Jesus saves our children. Among those He brought through the Red Sea and into the promised land were little children held by believing fathers’ hands or in mothers’ arms. And for forty years they were led by Moses, whom this Father had saved as child from certain destruction (Heb. 11:23). The Father who established the child Jesus as Mediator of the covenant includes children in that testament of grace (Heb. 9:15). To them He swears, “I will be their God” (Gen. 17:8). They are His heritage and gracious reward (Ps. 127:3). He loves those children, even before they are born or have done good or evil (Heb. 12:6; Rom. 9:11). He promises godly mothers like Mary, “The fruit of thy womb is blessed, even within thee” (Deut. 7:13; Luke 1:42; Ps. 147:13).
The Father who caused His child Jesus to grow strong in the Spirit of grace, promises the Spirit of Jesus to children (Acts 2:38-9). He fills them with that Spirit, so that they can rejoice at the presence of Christ, like the child John (Luke 1:15, 41). Through that Spirit He calls children (Acts 2:39). When He does, they respond, like little Samuel, “Speak; for thy servant heareth” (I Sam 3:10). By that Spirit He sanctifies them, so that among His people without blemish, well favored, skillful in all wisdom and cunning in knowledge, are children like Daniel and his friends (Dan. 1:4-17).
Because unto children a child is born, God issues the laws of His kingdom to them also. He addresses an entire commandment (5th) to children redeemed from the bondage of sin and death. Much of Proverbs is written to “my son.” God instructs parents to teach His law diligently to their children (Deut. 6:7), and He expected Abraham to do so for his child Isaac (Gen. 18:19). Through such instruction in the Holy Scriptures, He makes children wise unto salvation (II Tim. 3:15). To be an officebearer in Jesus’ church, one must rule his children well (I Tim. 3:12). And the Father of Jesus calls ministers “to turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children” (Luke 1:17).
If unto us a child is born, it should not be surprising that God’s favorite name for us is not His people, men and women, or elderly, but children. We are the children of Abraham, children of Israel, children of God, children of the promise, children of the light, children of the resurrection, little children, sons and daughters of God. We are exhorted to follow God as dear children (Eph. 5:1). Rather than requiring that children become adults to be saved (as some suppose), Jesus said to adults, “Except ye become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). By Jesus we are predestinated unto the adoption of children (Eph. 1:5). By that Spirit of adoption we all cry out as children, Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15).
This child Jesus born unto us is the Savior of children. He becomes much displeased with those who hinder His work with children (Mark 10:16). Better to be drowned in the sea tethered to a millstone, than that we should offend even one little child of Jesus (Matt. 18:6). To believing parents, His church, and officers Jesus commands, “Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not.” This child born unto us is the Good Shepherd, who gathers lambs with His arms, carries them in His bosom, and gently leads those with young (Is. 40:11). Of such children is the kingdom of God (Matt. 19:4). So when in faith we take our children to Jesus, He will take them up in His arms, put His hands upon them, and bless them. For unto us (and our children) a child is born. Rejoice!