We were made to be approved. When God first formed humanity from the dust, he pronounced us very good. And in that pronouncement, we have life. But our first parents, and all of us after them, have stepped away from God’s free approval to go in search of something we might earn, something that might differentiate us from the rest of our dust-born clan, something that would elevate us to the place of the approving one. We have tried to be God and approve ourselves. And from this vapid quest flows all that is dark in our world: malice, deceit, pride. We scratch and claw for the power we need to make something of ourselves, to prove that we are more worthy than our neighbor. But then a man from Galilee came to the Jordan River and was baptized there. And the Spirit of God descended and came to rest on Him like a dove. And a voice from heaven spoke again with the approval that is our life: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Jesus came into the world to bring these words to our ears. Not to lord his divine approval over us, but to invite each of us to live in it with him.