The Sunday after Christmas

(This day takes precedence over any other day in the Christmas Season, unless it is January 1. Then this devotion is read in the evening, and January 1 read in the morning.)

Ephesians 5:22-6:4

The Holy Family

The Sunday after Christmas has been reserved on the Church Calendar as “Holy Family.” The reason should be obvious: The birth of Christ to Mary and Joseph completes the purpose for which God ordained the institution of marriage and family in Genesis 2.  God made the man first, but there was not found a mate suitable for him.  So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him that he might bring to Adam one from his own body, who completed him.  And in their embrace was the most perfect love between husband and wife that ever was – until they sinned and brought brokenness, rivalry, and intrigue that has plagued the sexes ever since.

Our passage is from Ephesians 5.  And the fact that it has been the focus of so much controversy only highlights our present brokenness.  If it were followed as it is written – neither used to browbeat women, nor twisted to serve a misguided egalitarian principle – all would be well.  God desires our sanctification as His holy people.  Marriage and childrearing, that is, family life, is a primary way whereby God sanctifies us as He chips away at our pride and selfishness in the process of being family.  As the husband and head of my family, God calls me to the awesome responsibility of loving my wife more than myself; indeed, loving her the very same way that Christ loves his Church.  And how did Christ show his love for his Church?  By laying down his life for her.  A husband’s love for his wife is shown by his willingness to serve her and to put her ahead of himself.  In this way, a husband actually sanctifies his wife and makes her holy as his love for her mirrors that of his Lord for his Church.  The wife responds by following his leadership, thereby lifting him up and honoring him, making him feel like … well, a man.  And together, they rear their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  Know that in childrearing, you are forming souls.  Your job is to raise godly children for the Kingdom.  Really.

In a waltz the man leads and the lady follows.  She is the mirror image of him, moving with him and following his leads as he turns her this way or that.  His main task is always to make her look beautiful – after all, he leads, but she will always be center stage, as the one who completes him.  And when it’s done right, there is such harmony between the two that one loses sight of whose leading and following but only sees two people moving as one – just as Jesus taught: “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-6).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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