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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-14)
There are two ways to the share message of Christmas in the Gospels, and each is complimentary and not critical of the other. The first is the Pageant narrative in the synoptic Gospels of Mathew and Luke. Mark begins with John the Baptist who introduces the Ministry of Jesus as an adult.
The second message of Jesus is the Eternal Now, the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. The Christ of the Cosmos who transcends time and space and is not limited to the rules of our universe and other fixed scientific norms in which we are limited to on this our island home. But, just as in the pageant scene, Jesus comes to earth as a human to live with human boundaries, such as gravity, life that includes death, and all the other nitty gritty stuff that makes up life between birth and death.
At Christmas we celebrate that Jesus has moved into the neighborhood. He has moved into our ‘hood’. He has moved into our community, into our shelters and homes, and yes, even into our lives. We are told that the mystery of faith is Christ within us, the hope of glory. God has chosen to make known … the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being that have come into being through Him. Now we are talking about a Jesus that transcends time and space, a person that is known, yet unknown, or as we say in theology, the “Unknown God”.
In Christology, the study of Christ, we refer to this knowing and unknowing as Johannine Stuttering. We find this throughout the New Testament. “Now we see thought a glass darkly, but then we will see him face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
The message of Christmas is Joy, hope and peace, and a promise of a life to live in the presence of God. God has come to live among jus in human form. God has come to assist us in brining the principles of the kingdom of God into our “hood”, into our community, our city, our nation and our world. We are called to come out. That’s the message of what church means. It is a Roman word that means we are called to come out and be a part of a specific group to do a specific calling. As a Church of Jesus Christ, we are called to come out from the world and to live by the principles of Christ that are outlined by the writers of the Gospels, and the teachings of the Apostles and the Prophets of Christianity and those patriarchs of the First Testament.
These are principles that will set us apart from the world. And how do they set us apart. It begins with the wonderful message of Christmas. Christ has come to live among us and in us and to assist us in all the things we have to do in this world and in this life, preparing us for life to come, whatever that may look like. It means that when Jesus shares this invitation with us
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
The Reverend Dr. David Madsen