My husband Seann and I have two kids: James is almost four and our daughter Sara is seven months. We are both pastors, and two years ago we moved—we were sent from the church where we had been on staff together, to serve in new places. When we were leaving, one of the families gave us a book: Double Dip Feelings. It’s a collection of vignettes to help children understand emotions. But, just like the children’s messages here are for the children, but also for you, the book was for our son, but also for us. It goes like this: “Everyone has feelings. There are many different kinds. And sometimes we have two at the very same time. When Amy’s new brother came home to live, she felt somersault joy… and left-out sad. When Katie’s family moved to a different town, she said, ‘I like my new house with a room of my own. The old one was smaller, but the old one was home.’ Did you ever feel both happy and sad at the very same time?”
The disciples are gathered together talking about all that has happened —the empty tomb, the appearance of Jesus on the road to Emmaus—and then Jesus appears. They feel joy—but they are also afraid and wonder what it could mean. This is us, too. We have so many different emotions—we’re scared about the future, about the possibility of war; we are ecstatic at the news of a friend we love getting engaged; we are worried about our mom’s cancer diagnosis, or our son’s job loss; we are eager to know what will happen next in our own lives.
The wonder of the Christian gospel is that the God we worship experienced all of these same emotions in Jesus and meets us where we are. But Jesus never leaves us where he found us. He finds the disciples and the message he gives them is “Peace be with you.” That is the same message he has for us—no matter what double-dip feelings we have.