The Word Became Flesh
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own . . . . to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Holy Parent, full of grace and truth.
John 1: 9-14 (NIV, ed.)
The last verse of the song Silent Night celebrates the birth of Christ as the arrival of redeeming grace.
Silent night, Holy night,
Son of God, Love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
These words cause me to focus on probably the least discussed nativity story in the Bible. Each of the four Gospels has its own nativity story. However, the Book of John offers a different story on the birth of Christ. It does not have the manager and animals. It is devoid of shepherds or wisemen. And though it does not have talk about the star hanging over Bethlehem, the scripture tells of the true light - the light that gives light to all.
The nativity story in John is a very powerful story. It strips the story of Christ's birth to its spiritual essence. Although the nativity story in John may not provide much for Hollywood or Hallmark to market, this passage prepares us to again celebrate Christmas. It helps us remember that Christmas is not only a celebration of the arrival of a baby in a manager, but also a celebration of the presence of redeeming grace and a radical new way of interacting with God - that we are children of God.
In this world that uses the symbols of the nativity in the other three gospels for many purposes beyond spiritual well-being, there is value in remembering the other story of the Word of God becoming flesh and teaching us how to be one with God.
Merciful God, in this season of advent, thank you for sharing the redeeming grace that changes lives and changes the world. Help me to be a light to those around me and help me to reflect grace. Amen.