Thursday of Christmas I – Galatians 4:4-7 

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

As World War II came to its close, a young LCMS Lutheran man, from Wisconsin, named Paul sailed into San Francisco harbor on a Coast Guard ship. He had spent the war ferrying men to Europe but posted to the west coast toward the end of the war. He met a girl there, Clara, and they married. At first, they tried to live in the Midwest, but the west coast had gotten under their skin. They returned to the Bay area in 1952. It was a story which was repeated time and again in those days as California’s population boomed with WWII veterans. They wanted children but were not able to have any, so they adopted a little boy and named him Steven. Paul was a mechanic, one of the meticulous fellows who restored old cars. He taught Steve to pay as much attention to the inside of something, the parts no one ever saw, as to those parts on the outside.

Paul’s last name was Jobs and his son, of course, was Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers. I recently read the biography of Steve Jobs. He was not a pleasant person to be around. He often lacked a sense of empathy and awareness of the impact his words and deeds had on other people. He was a complex man who inspired fierce loyalty from some and deep antipathy from others. But there was a fascinating story related in the middle of the book. Steve had created a factory to make his computers. He obsessed about the color of the robotic machines and the look of the factory’s interior. Everyone thought this was a little odd. No one cares what the inside of a factory looks like. Steve did. He felt that making a great product meant paying attention to every detail, even the things the consumer never saw. He bullied his team into doing it his way. When everything was perfect, he scheduled a whole day off and invited his adoptive father for a tour. With a gentleness and patience which he rarely had for anyone else, Steve showed his adoptive father around the glistening and gleaming new facility. It clearly mattered to this sometimes-difficult genius of a man what his father thought of this.

God has sent the Word into the flesh that you might be adopted, given the right to cry out “Abba, Father!” Abba of course means “Daddy!” God hears that cry and turns His loving face toward you and your life with a smile. Steve had made this factory just so, because his father had taught him that the inside of things was just as important as the outside. Paul approved and that mattered to Steve. You are no longer a slave, a cog in some impersonal cosmic machine. You are a child of who cries out “Daddy!” and the very Lord of the universe turns toward you with a fatherly smile. Rest in that today. It is a good place to be.

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