Today is the Feast Day of St. John. Challenging words come to the disciples in John: “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” Peter whines a bit and says that he would lay down his life for Jesus. When the rooster crows, we learn otherwise.
The command is to love one another. This is easier said than done! After all, their new found religion is one where God comes to earth and is denied by his own people. One doesn’t have to look much further from Christ himself to see how hard this is. One of his closest followers betrays him. Another denies him at his most vulnerable.
That message is one of LOVE, which is an appropriate Christmas gift our readings deliver to us this day – the 3rd Day of Christmas. John spoke much about love, especially in his epistles. It is not just a message of love, but that God’s love extends even to those we thought were left out of the story – us!
The principles of our religion may seem a little backward to those who don’t understand: turn the other cheek – love your enemy. Our call is not to war with others, but to war with evil itself, and follow the Prince of Peace – to crush death and destruction, and sow seeds of love in this light, even if that means dying oneself.
So here we are! God-with-us has saved us from the tyranny of life. Merry Christmas! God is with us on this journey! And that, my friends, is part of the miraculous Christmas message for us – a message of incarnational grace and the journey of the Spirit – God with us.