Monday, December 25, 2017

December 25

A basic understanding of the Old Testament is quite clearly the foundation on which the
Apostle John composed his gospel account of the ministry and signs of Jesus. “In the
beginning . . .” – sound familiar? John continues – “. . . was the Word, and the Word was with
God, and the Word was God” [1:1]. The ensuing introduction to the gospel [1:2-5] antiphonally
echoes the beginning of the Genesis 1 account of God’s powerful speaking [His word] creation
into existence. After John opaquely introduces himself in vss. 6-8, the Genesis 1-like
description continues with the dynamic discussion of “Word becoming Light” [1:9-10], and that
“Word become Light” coming into the world and “becoming flesh” [1:11-14]. Word, Light,
Flesh, Jesus! Some in Jesus’ day did not receive/believe him as such, while others did; those
who received/believed him became children of God.

John 1:1-14 represents the Apostle John’s presentation of the Advent! Unlike the Matthew and Luke accounts of Jesus coming as a newborn baby, John wants his readers to focus on the coming of Jesus as Word, Jesus as Light, Jesus as Flesh.

As “Word” he embodied the life-giving message of God to humanity [cf. Heb. 1:1-2].
He came as the expression of God, communicating God’s concern over and provision or humankind’s condition and need of a Savior.

As “Light” he epitomized the function of the light spoken of in Genesis 1 – dispelling
darkness. John’s assertion in 1 John 1:5 – “God is light, and in him is no darkness” - sheds further light on his opening statement in the gospel – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

As “Flesh” he experienced and embraced the challenges and difficulties of being human.
At the same time he “fleshed out” God for human understanding – “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father . . .” [John 14:9].

In the Christian tradition, December 25 is identified as the day on which the Advent of
Christ is celebrated. Amid all the gift giving that tends to characterize the season and the day,
perhaps it is appropriate to devote some time to reflecting on the “three-in-one gift” that God
has bestowed on us: Jesus as Word, Jesus as Light, Jesus as Flesh – JESUS.

John Lawlor

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