In John’s Gospel we get a very different take on the Christmas story. Gone are the historical hooks: the census, the trip to Bethlehem, the wise men and the shepherds. Gone is the picture of Joseph and Mary in the stable. Instead, we are given a broader perspective on proceedings.
First of all, we are told that the subject of this whole episode is, and was, the Word – that which was with God in the absolute beginning. In fact, through this Word the entire universe that we inhabit came into existence.
The coming of this Word into his own creation is remarkable.
We know that Jesus would later announce that he is the light of the world, and that following his light would bring life, but there’s another element that we tend to skip over without recognising it for what it is. The light itself is not what brings life, but it is the life behind it – that self-same Word.
John 1:4 tells us: “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
The light that we receive, that we follow, derives from that very life of God himself, through the Word. The I AM is the life behind the light. So, the one through whom everything that was made has been made is the same life that lights that first Christmas, and every Christmas since then. It is the power of that life that ensures to us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t been able to overcome it. Encapsulated in that fragile package who Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and wise men adored was all the power of the Creator of the universe!
And yet, remarkably, in becoming human, Jesus, the Word, became one of us, and ‘came to his own’. How sad then, that so many of us refuse him, not just at Christmas, but throughout our lives. The fantastic news is that this same Word is returning to his creation, but this time in all the power that we read of here. It’s one thing to reject a poor innocent and fragile baby. It’s another thing entirely to reject the One who is life itself and the source of all that was, all that is, and all that will be.
There’s only one thing we can honestly do: bow our knee to the Creator of the universe, made man for our sake, and worship him as the life who brings us light.