I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10 NIV)
She sat in the second last row of the pews in the church. Her face showed the wear of a hard life. She wore rough and drab clothing that gave her the appearance of a homeless woman.
She had come to an abuse conference where I was one of the main speakers, and I ended up sitting beside her on the second day. I quietly watched as she took frantic, scribbling notes on the small notepad she held on her lap. I prayed with her on the second evening when she asked for prayer. I explained how God loves her for who she is. I explained how she is created in the image of God as a woman, and I shared the forgiveness of God that is available if we ask.
When she came back the next morning, I had to take a second look. She had cleaned up and was dressed neatly with a large turquoise necklace that added to her overall appearance. I asked her how she was doing, and she replied, "I've been to counseling before but they don’t tell us things like this,” referring to the conference teaching.
For this woman, the truth of the Gospel changed her. It touched her heart, and it showed in her outer being. This is the power of the Bible-based trauma care we use at Lutheran Indian Ministries.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
One commentator (Gill) interprets this passage as follows, “Christ came to give life, to communicate life to the non-living, to the dead in trespasses, and to those in their graves.” In other words, when we receive the life Jesus offers into our hearts, it changes our lives. The result then is, “Life has untold capacities about it – beauty, fragrance, strength, growth, variety, reproduction, resistance to death, continuity, eternity."
The birth of Jesus, then, is the beginning of the fulfillment of this promise. Jesus came so that we can have a life that is full. Not only spiritually but also in how we experience our physical world. “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10), the angel said to the shepherds. Indeed it was good news of great joy, then as it is today.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for this season of celebration and time of reflection on the birth of Jesus into our world. Give us eyes to see and hearts to understand this amazing expression of your love for humanity. Help us to walk in this truth and live life so full of You that it shines into the lives of those around us. In Jesus' name, Amen.