Summary: CHRISTMAS 1, YEAR A - God speaks through Word and Action and we can hear God clearest through Jesus Christ where Word and Action became one in human flesh.
So, it’s over! Christmas is finally over, right? The presents are all opened and the boxes and packaging is all picked up and put away. Another season of pictures and memories are all stored away so that later on you can bring them out again for a time of fond recollections. So tell me, can any of you remember your first Christmas day? I mean your very, very first Christmas? I would be surprised if you could sense most of us were probably still in the womb at the time. Few of us can remember any of the first times in our lives. So one might be skeptical when John declares, “In the beginning was the Word..” How do you know John? You weren’t there. No, John wasn’t there, but the Word that made it all has come to dwell among us in human flesh and John was there for that. There is an amazing drawing of John chapter one done by a Korean artist. This work of art took two years to complete. The artist meticulously drew the picture by hand with a very fine tipped pen. It is not a painting, but a picture created by writing thousands of words with shaded letters. The words written are the entire New Testament written out by hand from beginning to end. There are about 185,000 words on the scroll with an average of a thousand words per line. The letters are drawn, some thick and some thin so that they bring out a picture of Christ. In this drawing there are twenty-seven angels surrounding Christ and looking to him, representing the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. The figure of Christ is not imposed onto the words, the words reveal the picture of Christ as they are inked light and dark to bring out the portrait of Christ. The words have become flesh, a person. If you would magnify a portion of the work, such as Christ’s hand, you could actually read the words. The message of the artist is that the New Testament reveals one thing the person of Jesus Christ.
Out of the Word arises The Word — Jesus Christ. The Word which became flesh. As E. Stanley Jones writes: “Out of the Gospels arises the Gospel. Jesus is the Gospel He did not come to bring the Good News. He was the Good News.” Our God has not remained remote and unapproachable, he has come to us in person. He did not just write us a letter. He did not just send us a representative. He did not just speak his laws from a mountain. He came to us as one of us. The Infinite became an infant. The Eternal One became a wee one. In 1995 one of the biggest music singles was Joan Osborne’s song “One of Us.” The song earned 7 Grammy Award nominations, and made a virtually unknown singer an overnight sensation. It’s a song of spiritual questioning and about conceiving of God in a modern age. These are some of the words of that song:
“If God had a name, what would it be, and would you call it to his face, if you were faced with him in all His Glory, what would you ask if You had just one question… What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home.
Well Joan, The Bible tells us that God did become one of us. But instead of coming that He might be a slob like us, Christ came to give us the power to become children of God. And though we may all be lost Christ has become the Way by which we make our way home. 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.