Christmastime is upon us; the trees are decorated, the stockings are hung, the presents are crammed in closets just waiting to be wrapped, and the airwaves crackle with the music of the holidays. It is about this time each year that my mind is drawn to the the opening verses of John’s Gospel. When we celebrate Christmas we tend to turn our eyes back to that manger in Bethlehem some two thousand years ago- as well we should- however, in this passage John reminds us that Christmas, while culminating in that stable long ago, did not begin there. Instead it is rooted in eternity past.
“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. 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….
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
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…. 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. ” (John 1:1-5, 9-14, 16-18).
The first chapter of John may not be the most recited Christmas passage in the Bible, but I can think of no more appropriate verses, in all of Scripture, to turn to as we ready our hearts, minds, and homes to celebrate the birth of Christ! Here, within these eighteen verses, lies the very heart and soul of Christmas; the mystery of the incarnation. God became man, the Creator joined Himself with His creation, the One Who existed for all eternity was born, He Who spoke the universe into being uttered His first newborn cry. The mind absolutely boggles at the phrase, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us!”
As Charles Wesley once wrote, “Hail the incarnate deity…. Jesus! Our Immanuel!”
Merry Christmas to one and all!
-Soli Deo Gloria