(John 1, 1-14)
The Word was with God in the beginning; and the Word took on flesh, and lived among us, and we have seen his glory – the glory of the only Son of the Father.
So says the writer of John’s Gospel in his meditation on the meaning of the Incarnation.
What was the word?
Think for a moment: what word, for you, is at the heart of the meaning of Christmas?
When you came into the service this morning, you were given a star. On one side of it are things which represent Christmas. If you have some time over the Christmas period, perhaps you’d like to spend some time relaxing by colouring them in.
On the other side, would you like to write the word that sums up for you the meaning of Christmas.
Maybe you found it difficult to bring it down to one word.
Here are three that I thought I might put on my star.
At Christmas, through the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, God communicates to us what God is really like. And that continued through the life and teaching and death of Jesus, and through the Holy Spirit, which continues to lead us in God’s ways.
Which prompts a question: how does our celebration of Christmas communicate that to the world? Are we celebrating something that happened long, long ago, in a far away country? Or are we celebrating something that happens now, here, and every day?
My second word would be ‘Life’.
John says that the Word was God’s agent in creation (and God said “let there be light’) and that the Word is the source of the life that illuminates everything and every one who is born into the world. In celebrating the birth of the Word made flesh, we are celebrating the new life that the coming of Jesus offers to everyone who accepts his teaching and lives as he lived.
Which prompts the question: how does our celebration of Christmas bring life and light to others?
My third word would be ‘Mystery’.
John says that when the Word came, the world did not recognize him; and his own people did not receive him. What the Word means to different people and in different times is not obvious. It cannot easily be summed up in other words. It is something that those of us who have found life through following his light need to struggle with throughout our lives, if we are to continue to see God’s grace and truth and glory through his story.
Many people nowadays do not recognize and receive the Word. How can we share the mystery of the Christmas event with them so that they too can become God’s children and live in the life and light and Glory of the Word?