Christmas can leave a good number of people feeling more empty than full.
And not only Christmas but many aspects of life. Parenting children. Budgeting monthly finances. Maintaining a healthy, vibrant marriage. Making appointments on time. Meeting the boss’ expectations. Running errands within a packed schedule. Caring for family and friends who are grieving.
The feeling of being drained is not hard to come by. But it’s not altogether surprising, considering our imperfect planet is occupied by limited, transient human beings whose needs seems to know no end.
So where do we find the energy and supply to keep pressing onward, especially during the busyness and worldly demands of the Christmas season?
From His Fullness…
The opening of the Gospel of John gives us our answer.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known (1:16-18).
John writes of the fullness of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who came into the world to show mankind the glory of the Father. He says plainly, “From his fullness we have all received…” The word “fullness” here begs our meditation. What exactly does it mean that Jesus Christ is fullness?
Consider a few ways a person could use the term “full”:
“The glass is full of water.” The opposite of full is empty or lacking stores; so fullness implies that something is not empty, that it is not lacking in supply.
“I’m so full.” The exclamation of having a full stomach after eating a large meal tells us that fullness means sufficiency, completion, and satisfaction.
“You are so full of laughter!” While this usage of the word “full” could also be negative, it implies an abundance of something.
So to read, “From his fullness we have all received…” we encounter an astounding truth about Jesus Christ: The Word made flesh is fullness in himself, and the ones who have put their faith in him are the beneficiaries of his fullness. (And even to those who have not believed, God gives common grace from his fullness. Stunning.) Therefore, since Christ is fullness in himself – never lacking in richness, full of grace and truth, sufficient, complete, and satisfied – his children lack nothing, continually receiving his grace.
…We Have All Received
But what does the fullness of Christ mean for us today?
Out of his fullness, all things were made (vv 1-3). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Jesus Christ is the Creator of the entire universe and the instigator of our lives. He put breath in our lungs. He needs nothing because he is fullness in himself. In the words of A.W. Tozer,
The river grows larger by its tributaries, but where is the tributary that can enlarge the One out of whom came everything and to whose infinite fullness all creation owes its being? (The Knowledge of the Holy, 33).
Christ was so entirely satisfied and pleased in his own glory that, from his fullness, he lavished it upon all of creation, who owes its being to the Creator and can give nothing back to him.
Our lives are not our own; we belong, body and soul, to Christ. Have you understood that Jesus Christ is your Lord?
Out of his fullness, he gives life to men who once walked in darkness (vv 4-5). “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Beyond creating humans by breathing into them physical life, Jesus Christ through his Holy Spirit creates in the dead sinner spiritual life by giving them a new heart and a new spirit. This is the astounding work of regeneration, where Christ gives the gifts of faith and repentance, awakening a dead person from spiritual darkness and helping them to see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4:6).
Apart from trusting Christ as Lord and Savior, we all have dead souls. What is your response to this reality?
Out of his fullness, he reveals his glory to men and commissions them to bear witness (vv 6-8). “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.”
We were all made to reflect the glory of Jesus Christ and to point the world to the Word of life. When God regenerates sinners and enables them to see the beauty of Jesus Christ, he then sends them out to boldly proclaim the gospel to a world still trapped in darkness. And out of his fullness, he will supply the words to speak and the power to do so.
He does not need us to accomplish this, but he delights to use us, through the power of his Spirit at work in and through us:
He needs no one, but when faith is present He works through anyone. Two statements are in this sentence and a healthy spiritual life requires that we accept both. (Tozer, 36).
If you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus, you have work to do! Where has God placed you for opportunities to bear witness to Jesus Christ this Christmas season? What would keep you from telling others about the work of Christ?
Out of his fullness, he loved (vv 11, 14). “He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus Christ came freely into a world that ridiculed him, rejected him, and ultimately crushed him by nailing him to a tree. The Lord of all creation, who is fullness in himself, could have demanded to be served by human hands – but he came to serve them instead.
This is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 4:10). Christ knew the terrible cross he would bear for our sake, and he proceeded to his death anyway, out of love for the Father and love for us.
Have you stopped to consider the full extent of Jesus’ love for undeserving sinners? What would keep you from turning to him today in faith and repentance or sharing the good news with someone who needs to hear it?
This Christmas, despite the busyness and distractions, may his fullness be yours. May the grace and truth of Jesus lighten your darkness, propel you to worship, and fill your emptiness with great joy, purpose, and conviction to see his glory known.