The Christmas story can be summarized this way, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." The Word became flesh, it took on human form, and lived among us, full of grace and truth. Jesus is the incarnate word, he is the Word made flesh. The word of God. The word of love. The word of truth and grace and beauty. He is the one who is the love of God in human form. Jesus is the human form of God’s forgiveness. He is the human form of God’s mercy. He is the human form of God’s justice, of God’s truth, of God’s love.
This is the Christmas story... “the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” God, so that he could help us, decided to walk among us and to live with us, as one of us - born of human parents, nurtured at a human breast, and working at human tasks until he died a human death. God among us, God made flesh, God for us - in Jesus Christ. What is remarkable about the Christmas story is not just that God chose to place all his glory, all his beauty, and all his truth in a human form, though that is remarkable enough - it is that he chose such a simple human being in which to take on flesh.
God’s word. The Word that was at the beginning of all things, and without which nothing was made that was made. Could have come upon a royal princess, but it did not. God’s word - made flesh, could have taken on the form of a philosopher, wise and full of truth living in some imperial palace, but it did not. No - God’s word, the word made flesh, was a simple word. A word made manifest. A word made visible in a simple human being. Born to a simple peasant woman, and cared for by a simple carpenter in a land that time still seems to have forgotten.
The Word made flesh. The Word of God, is found in its fullness in a babe who had to lay in manager, because there was no room for him at the inn. The Word made flesh, the Word of God, is found in all its fullness in a child, who while obedient to his parents, still argued with his teachers, and got lost in the city at the time of his Bar Mitzvah. The Word made flesh, the Word of God, is found in all its fullness, in a young man who wandered the countryside, teaching the teachers, healing the sick, eating with the sinners, and forgiving those who needed forgiving.
Jesus was the word of God in its fullness, and yet, consider, it was a word that had no home to call its own, it was a word that was denied, and betrayed, and finally killed in the hope that it would not be seen or heard again. God’s word took on flesh, and dwelt among us. It lived among us first within the body of a simple woman and then in the body of a simple man. And that word was both accepted, and rejected, but IN rejection, and then later IN death, it could not be destroyed.
This is the Christmas story, and it is a story that continues today, because the Word of God is an eternal word, it is a lasting word, it is an undefeatable word. Jesus - the word of God is still among us. He is here as spirit, teaching his followers that which they need to know, comforting his disciples with a comfort that they need, and leading them to the truth that they need to know. And what is that truth we need to know? Where is the word for us today? It is in the same place that it was when Jesus walked among us. It is in the acts of love that his followers perform. It is in the mercy that his disciples give to others. It is in the truth that they utter, the justice that they struggle for, and in the forgiveness that they bestow.