In the beginning there was the Word.
- Isaiah 52:7-10
- Psalm 98
- Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12)
- John 1:1-14
The above readings are for Christmas III, most appropriate for Christmas Day, while readings for Christmas I and II are often used on Christmas Eve services. There is a shift with this set of readings – we have moved from the birth of Jesus as told by Luke to the coming of Christ, who, in a hymn from John, is described as the Word who was with God from the beginning, and through whom all things come to be.
That Word is forever being engendered and forever being present with God because, as the expression of Divine nature, the Word is and always has been God. The Word which expresses the Divine nature has been the agent of all creation. Nothing whatever has come into being apart from that Word. In particular, the Word of God is Life for all that has life. And for those beings who can reflect upon the life they have, God’s Word is the Light that gives them understanding.
As Light, the Word reveals what is not light; but such darkness cannot exist without the Light that makes it evident. As true Light, the Word enlightens everyone. Moreover, the Light that is God cannot be represented as an impersonal force to be spoken of as “it.” God is personal, and we learn to speak of God’s Word as “he” or “him.” The Light has come to the world that was made by him; yet the world did not recognize him.
God came to his own people, and people generally failed to accept him. Yet there were some who did accept him. To them he gave the right to become children of God, because they derived their identity or origin not from human ancestry or physical characteristics or human intention.
The right to be adopted as children of God comes from giving total trust to the Word, which expresses the Divine nature. This we can do because the Word became material flesh and lived among us as human. Therefore we could see him and perceive his appearance (usually translated glory) as that of the only Son who could be engendered by the ultimate Reality – represented as our Father.
So the Word which we can see in the humanity of Jesus the Anointed One is full of grace and truth. We all have received grace and truth from Jesus Christ. While no one has ever seen God, Jesus the Word as God’s only Son makes God known. And that (leaving out the references to John the Baptist) is how a theologian would tell the Christmas story.
Light of life, you came in flesh,
born into human pain and joy,
and gave us power to be your children.
Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us,
so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness
and walk in the way of peace. Amen.
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