The Miracle of Christmas

Reflection on John 1: 1-14

You’ve got to be kidding. Do you really mean to tell me that the author of the Big Bang, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Messiah, the Promised One is that helpless new born crying out there in the stable? Give me a break. Well, as it turns out, that’s exactly why he’s here… to give us the biggest break of all time. It’s Yaweh, Almighty God, in a pint-sized package come to change the whole trajectory of human experience. That little bundle, a few minutes old, is here to teach and to preach, to sanctify and ultimately to save us all. He is our ticket to eternal life.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have life everlasting.(John 3:16) That’s the miracle of Christmas. That’s what all the carols and the crèches are about. It’s a stunning concept, but one that we have heard so often that we are in danger of becoming oblivious to the awesome reality that is Christmas. Let’s take another look at the miracle of Christmas and what it means in our lives today.

First let’s get a few theological concepts straight. Christians worship Jesus as God, the Second Person of the Trinity. He is the Son of the Father. But being Second and being the Son does not imply that Jesus is a junior varsity version of God. We are made in God’s image. He is not made in ours. God uses human concepts expressed in human language to give us a basic comprehension of his infinitely incomprehensible divine nature. In God’s good time, each of us will stand before him possessing greater knowledge than the wisest theologian and the most inspired evangelist ever had while on earth. We will see the face of God. Short of that, we rely on John’s brilliant summation: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.

That kid in the manger was, is, and always will be the Word of God. The Word is a manifestation of God’s love: made flesh and dwelt among us. And as much divine inspiration went into that step as went into placing our solar system at just the right spot in the Milky Way. Jesus came to us in just the right spot, at just the right time and in just the right way. His Nativity is his very first sermon to us. And it is perfectly in tune with every other sermon he preached… Blessed are the poor in spirit… Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you… Store up for yourself treasures in heaven…The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

What an infinitely perfect platform the Nativity makes to bring God’s love into our lives on a scale and in a form that Christians have embraced down through the ages. God, who made it all, who has it all, gave his all to us in total loving humility. The power that placed every star in the heavens, placed his love in the manger in the form of Jesus Christ. Suddenly, God is not a distant being. He is Emmanuel… God with us… beside us and in us. On Christmas and every day of the year, Jesus brings God down to us and us up to God. That’s the miracle of Christmas. Gloria in excelsis Deo!

The Reverend David Sellery, Author, Resource Creator and Retreat Leader. Committed to a vocation that focuses on encountering God in the midst of everyday life, I serve as an Episcopal priest who seeks to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in worship, pastoral care, education, stewardship, congregational development and community outreach, while continually engaging our wider culture with dynamism and hope.

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