Thursday, December 15, 2011


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:1-5, 14 (NIV)

                The birth of Jesus is an amazing story. It is filled with mystery, surprise, romance and intrigue. Matthew and Luke tell us about Mary’s dilemma and the courage it took for her to trust God. They introduce us to Joseph, the shepherds, the Magi and King Herod.  They establish Jesus’ place on the timeline of human history. Together they weave the Christmas story that millions know and love.
                John gives us a very different picture of Christmas. He doesn’t begin his story in Nazareth or in Bethlehem. He begins his story before the creation of the world. Before there was a carpenter shop in Nazareth or a stable in Bethlehem or a throne in Jerusalem Jesus was. All that we know to be real came into being through the power of “The Word”. It was Jesus who gave form to our world. It was Jesus who breathed life into our world. And it was Jesus who invaded our world.
                One of the most powerful passages in the Bible is John 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The creator of all that there is became a part of his creation. The all-powerful God choose to become frail and vulnerable. The all-knowing God chose to discover the world through the five senses of a baby boy. The unlimited God chose to confine his glory to a single point on the map.
                Paul tries to put things in perspective for us in Philippians 2:5-8. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! In Colossians Paul tells us that all the fullness of God was wrapped up in the flesh and blood person of Jesus.
                So let us go back to Bethlehem. A scared young girl endures the painful process of giving birth to her first-born child. She doesn’t get to do this in the pristine surroundings of a clean hospital room. No, she must face this experience in a crude stable. Her only attendant is a rough carpenter who was probably more scared than she was. Sometime during the night the natural process took its course. She cleaned up the baby as best as she could and wrapped him tightly in clothes. Then she held him in her arms. How small he looked; how fragile. Little did she know that she held an armful of eternity. The one who created the universe was lying in her lap. The one who breathed life into our world would draw life from her. The Word became flesh.
                I stand in awe of the miracle of Christmas. Of all of the ways God could have chosen to redeem this fallen world, he chose to send Jesus as a baby. Rather than breaking into our world in a moment of power and glory he chose the slow process of a child growing stronger day by day, year by year, until the time was just right. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. [Galatians 4:4-5 (NIV)]

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