Don’t be obsessed with the world or all the stuff. God’s love isn’t about the stuff. All that stuff – stuff you crave, stuff you see and want, money to buy all that stuff – it’s just stuff. It’s got nothing to do with God. All that stuff just comes and goes, but when it’s gone, God always remains.
It’s only a few days after Christmas, and how much of the stuff so many people spent so much time and worry over since Black Friday is already broken, forgotten, returned to the store, eaten, or needs new batteries?
Even if you got really good stuff (an iPad? a new car?) there will be new models next year. And the year after that.
But if you were blessed (and you don’t have to be of any special religion to be blessed) you experienced something of love. And you can call that back whenever you want or need it. You can even return it to its sender and still have it. It always remains. It may have been expressed, partly, through the stuff. But it’s not about the stuff.
So don’t be obsessed with the world or all the stuff. Because as it turns out, life isn’t a stuff thing. Life is a love thing.
We announce the origin of things to you. What we heard. What we witnessed with our own eyes. What we examined and touched with our own hands. It’s about life. Life that was revealed, that we’ve seen. We swear to it, and we tell you that life forever with the father was made known to us. And we’re telling you what we’ve seen and heard so you, too, can be together with us. Surely, we’re together with the father and with his son, Jesus. We’re writing this so our joy may be complete.
Here is yet another Christmas story. Another account of how it all started.
Like all the Christmas stories, it was written quite a while later, and the people writing it down weren’t actually there. The eyewitness is metaphorical. But the story provides the basis upon which the community that tells it is built. And in that sense, it’s not about the community’s past, but about its present. What is essential to the community’s value system. What is essential to pass on to the next generation for the community to continue to exist.
With that in mind, here are four observations we can glean from these lines about this early community of Christians.
Their central value is life.
Their core principle is togetherness.
Their posture is invitation.
And their prime movement is toward joy.
Whether you agree with their specific theology or not, a community affirmation of life, togetherness, invitation, and joy sounds like a pretty awesome thing. Just about any community would do well to emulate that.