Summary: This sermon was preached on the Fourth Sunday in Advent with the basic text being John 1:14, "The Word Became Flesh." It is a message on His Incarnation.
Jes Brings Us God
“This is about a modern man, one of us. He was not a scrooge; he was a kind, decent, mostly good man, generous to his family, upright in his dealings with others, but he did not believe in all that Incarnation stuff that the Churches proclaim at Christmas time. It just didn’t make sense to him, and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just could not swallow the Jesus story about God coming to earth as a man. ‘I’m truly sorry to distress you,’ he told his wife, ‘but I’m not going with you to church this Christmas Eve.’ He said he’d feel like a hypocrite. That he would much rather stay home, but that he would wait up for them. He stayed, they went.
“Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier, then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound. Then another and another. At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. Well, when he went to the front door, he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm and in a desperate search for shelter they had tried to fly through his large landscape window.
“Well, he couldn’t let the poor creatures lie there and freeze. He remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter—if he could direct the birds to it. He quickly put on his coat and boots, trampled through the deepening snow to the barn, opened the door wide, and turned on a light. But the birds did not come in.
“He figured food would entice them in and he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow making a trail to the yellow lighted wide open doorway of the stable, but to his dismay the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them, he tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms—instead they scattered in every direction except into the warm lighted barn. Then he realized THEY WERE AFRAID OF HIM.
“TO THEM, HE REASONED, I AM A STRANGE AND TERRIFYING CREATURE. If only I could think of some way to let them know they can trust me: That I’m not trying to hurt them, but to help them? How? Any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him. IF ONLY I COULD BE A BIRD AND MINGLE WITH THEM AND SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE, AND TELL THEM NOT TO BE AFRAID, AND SHOW THEM THE WAY TO THE SAFE, WARM BARN. BUT I’D HAVE TO BE ONE OF THEM, SO THEY COULD SEE AND HEAR AND UNDERSTAND.
“At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sound of the wind. He stood there listening to the bells.
“Adeste Fideles.” Listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow” [--“The Christmas Storm: A Modern Parable,” as Read by Paul Harvey].
The message of Christmas is the Story of the Incarnation, how our eternal God became one of us in the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem’s manger. This Advent we have looked at the Story of the Coming of Jesus and have seen that “Jesus Brings Us Peace, “ “Jesus Brings Us Love,” and “Jesus Bring Us Joy.” On this Fourth Sunday of Advent as we turn to the opening paragraphs in the Gospel of John we hear the greatest message of All the Season, “Jesus Brings Us God.” Once again I appreciate the spiritual depth of Eugene Peterson when in his paraphrase THE MESSAGE he renders John 1:14 in these words:
“The Word became flesh and blood,
And moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
The –one-of-a kind glory,
Like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
True from start to finish.”
Incarnation simply means that in the birth of Jesus God took upon a human body; He became one of us, “flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood.”
In a sermon entitled “Wonderful” Billy Sunday, who preached from this very location where we worship today, affirms that there are “two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ.” He then goes on to explain why this is so; “Because [Jesus] was infinitely beyond all that any one name could express.” [--Billy Sunday in a sermon, “Wonderful,” quoted in The Real Billy Sunday, Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 2.]