The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
– John 1:14a MSG
Occasionally called the “forgotten Christmas story,” the first chapter of John describes the incarnation of Christ in philosophical prose. In contrast Matthew and Luke give us nativity narratives which chronicle the birth story of Jesus. John, however, describes Jesus as the Word who came to bring life and light to all who are willing to receive it (1:4). And now, over 2,000 years later, that Light still guides our steps and that Life continues to infuse our existence with mission and meaning.
The gospel accounts are compiled from different vantage points. Just as Matthew’s gospel addresses the historians and genealogists among us, and Luke’s gospel sings to the poet and musician within us, perhaps John’s gospel dialogues with the inquirers and logicians of the world, both past and present.
John proposes that in the beginning of all things, the Word co-existed with God. Before order was brought out of chaos, the Word was with God. Before light emerged out of darkness, the Word was with God. Before the first breath exhaled through human nostrils, the Word was with God. The Word was, is, and always will be in sync with God.
The Greek term translated and personified as the Word is Logos. Logos is a technical philosophical concept which can be translated as “ultimate meaning” or “reason for being.” During Christmas we may see a slogan that says, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” I think John is actually suggesting that “the incarnate Word empowers and informs reason for being.”
According to John, the Word took on human form and moved into the neighborhood. In other words God not only entered the world for us, but God has chosen to be near and accessible to us. In other words, the God of the universe, who transcends our capacity to comprehend or control, has freely and lovingly chosen to relate to us personally, to communicate with us in a language we can understand…an exemplary human life.
Remarkably, God not only invites us to receive light and life; God also calls us to be life and light wherever we live and wherever we go. As we follow the example of Jesus, we become light and life in our community. As we serve God by serving others, mysteriously, we become God’s flesh and blood in our neighborhood.
May I follow Jesus as the light of my life and also share that light with others through my attitude and actions. Amen.