By Jennifer Thomas
Do you have a movie or movies you watch over and over again? Well, I have several and one of them this time of year is Elf. My son and his wife were here for Thanksgiving and of course it was on and we watched it. Just in case you have not seen it, here is a little background. Will Ferrell’s character, Buddy the Elf, was accidentally transported to the North Pole as a toddler and raised to adulthood among Santa’s elves. He eventually travels to New York in search of his father. At one point in the movie, Buddy, in full elf attire, is at a department store when he is told that Santa is coming. He responds, “Santa! I know him!” I won’t spoil the rest just in case you haven’t seen the movie.
Buddy’s words, “I know him!” kept coming to mind days after we watched the movie. I could’t help but think about Christ and my own relationship with Him. There was a time when I only knew about Him. I knew what other people said about Him, preached about Him, and their experiences with Him. But, I wanted to know Him and love Him for myself. I wanted to have a relationship with Him and have my own experiences with Him, but I honestly didn’t know how and I wondered if it was even possible.
In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus had just silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together and one of them, an expert in the law tested him with this question: Matthew 22:36-38, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” This command is to love the Lord our God with ALL that we are. This tells me that it is possible and it begins with opening the living and active Word of God, and asking the Holy Spirit to give us a heart to know Him, a soul to receive Him, and a mind that is open and willing to be taught. As I began to open the pages of my Bible day after day, I began to experience it for myself. Head knowledge began to move to heart transformation. This is not a one time experience but an on going process of sanctification. It is a lifetime of learning and growing in holiness of heart through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A.W. Tozer writes in his book, Delighting in God, “It is simply not enough to know about God. We must know God in increasing levels of intimacy that lifts us up above all reason and into a world of adoration and praise and worship.” The more we seek Him, the more we will find Him and we will be forever changed.
This Advent season, Buddy the Elf reminded me that as true followers of Christ we should proclaim, with great excitement, “Jesus, I know Him!” Lord, may we be lifelong seekers to know You, love You, and love others. Lord, we pray that you would fill us with Your Spirit of boldness and courage to say to others, “Jesus, I know Him!” Do you?”
(Jennifer Thomas is director of Spiritual Formation at First United Methodist Church.)