Christmas - Is That All There Is?
Have you ever heard that expression after all the Christmas presents are opened? Kids say it. However, I believe adults think it more often than we would admit and not just at Christmas.
A friend of mine checked off an item on his ‘bucket list” and was disappointed. The reality did not match the expectation. Maybe that “let down” is an inevitable aspect of a much anticipated event. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Simon Peter wanted to make three booths for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. He wanted to preserve the experience. But even they could not stay on the mountain top. Jesus led them back down to the valley.
I believe John was addressing a similar-type feeling in his first letter. He is writing to people who he knows. They are Christians but seem to be wavering in the faith. Perhaps there was a let down after the initial joy.Here is what John writes:
1) We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2) this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3) we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4) We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. (1 John 1:1-4)*
There was great joy as well as awe and some fear among the disciples at the resurrection of Jesus. However, the over whelming emotion was joy. That joy was passed on as each new person came into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. John testifies to what he knows, what he has seen with his eyes and touched with his hands. Jesus is real! Jesus is alive and all disciples have seen and touched him.
John is sharing his testimony so that others also might participate in this joy. But more than that, he is sharing that “our joy” – meaning those with John as well as those with whom he is sharing the word of life – “may be complete.”
There is joy in having Jesus in our life and having our life in Jesus. However, to complete the joy—to have the fullness of the experience of joy—we must share Jesus with others.
John is sharing his experience of the resurrected Lord. That is what we are called to do. To share our experience of Christ. Just answer these questions in two or three sentences:
“Who is Jesus to me? Why do I believe this? What is my experience of Christ?” Be ready to share that.
So the times when our hearts may ask, “Is that all there is?” The answer is an emphatic “No!” Have your joy complete by sharing Jesus, sharing your experience of Christ.
*I am indebted to Rev Gregoire Chahinian of the Eglise Evangelique Methodiste in Colmar, France for his exposition of his text.