Read 1 John 5:1-5.
The warm glow of Christmas Day is still in the air but as the days keep passing by our attention turns to new years and new semesters. There is a feeling creeping in that soon things will get back to normal. That feeling might fill you with excitement or dread but it will be here before you know it. Maybe it is back to the dorms or back to the books. Perhaps it is the communities that will give you comfort or the challenges that leave you anxious, but sooner or later, the world will carry on like it always does.
Our daily reading is speaking to a people just like us in the days following Christmas cheer. They have been changed in faith and by a God that loves them so much that God came to be with them. Even that amazing change is starting to settle in as the community starts to look toward the future. What does Christmas have to do with every other day of our life?
The deep joy and love we bear witness to at Christmas must be one that changes us for a semester, a year, a lifetime. John hopes for this change for his community. He tells them that to believe and trust in God must inform the way they see one another. To love the children of God is Christ’s last and great mandate to his disciples. It is the culmination of his life’s work. John’s community can’t trust God and treat one another in the same old way. They are called to something new, something better. Love of God is given flesh anew when we love one another.
Now I know that is easier said than done. John’s community probably said the same thing. The rest of his letter leads us to believe they had the same trouble doing that as I suspect any of us would today. But each time you forgive an offense or love one that is difficult to love, you continue the work of Christmas long after the tinsel and lights have been stored away.
Soon, life will find its new year normal, no doubt about it. Carry the love of God and for neighbor with you and keep the Christmas spirit going.
Tom Bryson, UKirk MSU