Christmas is a time of giving and charities are often seeking help for their organization. The Apostle John wants us to know that the gift of compassion begins in the heart and then is worked out in real life.
Compassion is the trait of sharing and caring for others in their time of need. The Apostle John lived his last years in Ephesus but his heart is seen for those less fortunate, like the prisoners he ate, slept and worked with on the Isle of Patmos. He never mentions that time other than in Revelation but we can see his heart in this letter.
First, he notes that there are those who have lost loved ones to death and he mourns with them but reminds them that if they were believers and have entered eternity they will see Christ as he is. Don Wyrtzen wrote a hymn who shares this sentiment: “But just think of stepping on shore-And finding it Heaven! Of touching a hand-And finding it God’s! Of breathing new air-And finding it celestial! Of waking up in glory-And finding it home!”
Because we are here in an earthly realm John wants us to keep the gospel message alive and we do it as he and James said. “love other fellow Christians.” Then John asks a pointed question: how can you say that the love of God resides in you if you lack compassion to those in need? This is one of those pointed “ouch” questions. John wants us to know Him as He is known and reach out to others in their time of need.
It may be Christmas but the message is the same: Christ is the gift God has given to us and we are to share that gift with others.