Summary: A sermon for Christmas Day.
John 1:1-5, 10-14
“A New Beginning”
I don’t want to sound like a Scrooge, but the other day when, yet another, Christmas commercial came on the t-v I immediately thought to myself: “Enough already! By the time Christmas gets here, we are all sick of it.”
But you know what?
Our waiting is over.
Christmas has come, and we can get maybe a bit of a reprieve from the commercialism that has drenched our culture since before Halloween!
But, you know, in all actuality, Christmas is about beginnings.
And it would be hard to read this passage from the Gospel of John without thinking of the resemblance it has to the Creation story in Genesis.
Verse 1 starts with, “In the beginning…”
In Genesis we are told that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Then we are told that “God said, Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters…”
“And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered in one place…’”
“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation…’”
You get where I am going with this.
God spoke this world into existence through His Word.
And in the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John we are told that “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 all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
In the Old Testament, we are told that God regularly acts by means of His “Word.”
What God says, happens.
In Psalm 33 we are told, “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made…”
Isaiah Chapter 40 informs us, “God’s word is the one thing that will last, even though people and plants wither and die.”
And Isaiah 55 says, “God’s word will go out of his mouth and bring life, healing and hope to Israel and the whole creation.”
John’s Gospel helps us to understand just how radically related Jesus is to life itself!!!
I mean, Jesus is the Organizing Principle of the cosmos!!!
“In the beginning was the Word” is really the same as saying, “In the beginning was God”!
And “God became flesh and lived among us,” in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth!!!
As incomprehensible as it may seem, the cosmic eternal Christ, the pre-existing God of the universe is also a flesh and blood Person, Who was born to a particular woman in a particular town at a particular time, and died a painful, physical death!!!
This is the central theme of Christmas, and it’s a big one!!!
The God Who said, “Let there be light,” and Who confirmed that the light was good, is the same God Who was born in a manger!!!
And the whole life, death and Resurrection of Jesus can’t be separated from Christmas!!!
This means we can’t celebrate Christmas without having Easter in view!!!
And when we proclaim Christ’s birth we cannot do it without proclaiming the reason for that birth!!!
For the wonder of Christmas is that when God becomes flesh, human history is irrevocably changed; the relationship between God and humankind is altered forever!!!
So, Christmas is a time for new beginnings.
How couldn’t it be?
What will you and I do after the trees are taken down?
What will we do after the last of the left-over turkey or ham has been eaten?
Will we go back to life as normal, or will something be different?
There is a story about a little boy who stood looking at a picture of his father who was away, out at sea.
Then he turned to his mother and said, “I wish father would step out of the picture.”
That little boy expressed, in his own way, the deepest hope of those who are living in miserable darkness…
…and are hungry, ever so hungry for the light of Christ!!!
If only the Father would step out of the picture….
…but He has stepped out of the picture…
…He stepped out at Bethlehem into the darkness as Light!!!
And He steps into any heart that is yearning and open to His love.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us…”
God is here!!!
J.B. Phillips tells a little parable that goes something like this:
“Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown the glories of God’s universe by a more experienced angel.
He saw many spectacular things: whirling planets, blazing suns, magnificent comets.
Then the older angel pointed out a rather insignificant-looking blue-green sphere turning rather slowly on its axes.
The young angel was decidedly under-whelmed.
But the senior angel drew all his attention to this small celestial body.