But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

At its best, Christmas is a celebration full of family gatherings and giving. Because of our obligations, the Burnses rarely assembled from distant places to express our mutual love. However, Christmastime was “required attendance” for everyone. My father reminded us constantly of how wonderful those memories were.

In the “fullness of time,” the Father so loved the world that He sent His Son to gather His family of believers in the Spirit. Galatians tells us that our faith in the incarnate Son gives us the highest privilege of membership in His family with an intimate “Abba, Father” relationship and shared inheritance (Galatians 4:6, see also Romans 8:14–17). The Son was sent from the Father as a coequal and coeternal member of the Trinity. He was “born of a woman,” the fully human “seed” of God’s promise to overcome sin, and its curse, through Eve (Genesis 3:15, Galatians 3:13, 19). The promise continued through the chosen offspring of Abraham, the “man of faith” (Galatians 3:10, 16). And the Son was born “under the Law,” which had been a tutor and guardian that pointed to Him as the One who would redeem us from the curse by becoming a curse in our place (Galatians 3:13, Hebrews 2:16–17). Before the Son’s incarnation, Old Testament believers were in “slavery” under the care of God’s Word as they anticipated their Messiah. In the fullness of history, the Father placed His most precious gift in a human womb. The Father decreed the coming of His Son, so that by faith we can be adopted into His family, becoming full members of the family and its inheritance, and indwelt by the “DNA” of His Spirit.

Christmas celebrates the greatest gift ever given to believers, so our joyous family celebrations should remind us of joy in God’s family. We as children should unceasingly praise our Father for His graciousness to us. “Joy to the world,” we annually sing, “for the Lord is come … let every heart prepare Him room.”