Before Thanksgiving, Halloween or even the first cool snap, Christmas 2018 was rolling into town. When Walmart’s trees are twinkling before summer is out the door, you know by December it’s going to be hard to find spiritual room in the inn. But find it we must, otherwise the most important will get shut out: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
So let’s make some room in the inn.
Everything has a beginning. A job. Marriage. You and me. Everything has a beginning, except the Word. When John writes and the Word became flesh, there’s no becoming that, unless you are first there to become it.
In fact, John begins the fourth Gospel with his game-changing prologue stating the Word, Who is Jesus Christ, has always been around: In the beginning was the Word . . . (John 1:1). Before the beginning of this time-space-material universe, Jesus Christ was there and always was there. That’s the sense in the original of that tiny, but critical three-lettered ‘was.’ Confirmed by other Scripture, Jesus Christ had no beginning. There’s never been a ‘first’ for Him. The uncreated One has never been not. With personality, intellect, creativity . . . before Jesus was born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, He eternally was.
He knew God. Intimately knew God. Knew all that He thought, felt, planned. Intimately knew God through and through. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (John 1:1). When John wrote his letter, several different terms could all be translated into our English as ‘with.’ The Holy Spirit moved him to chose the one that had the sense of ‘face to face’ closeness. Before this time-space-material universe, the Word was [face to face ] with God.
You likely will be face to face this Christmas with family and friends. You will talk, share, listen, laugh . . . which means both you and those around, are able to think, understanding each other’s communications. With family and friends you will enjoy one another’s presence. That’s so, because there is equality between both you and them. Come time around the tree, you will not be face to face with a catfish or a grubby earthworm where there’s inequality. You will be face to face with another, your equal, a person.
Back before Gen 1:1 where the Bible says ‘In the beginning,’ Jesus as the Word was ‘face to face’ with God, with both Him and God able to think, understanding each other’s communications. Each in eternity past were able to enjoy one another’s presence. That could only be so if there was equality between the two . . . one eternal person facing another eternal person. That’s why Jesus knew all that God thought, all that God felt, all that God planned.
And . . . if we had not connected the dots by now, John connects them for us: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1) . . . which makes John 1:14 so stunning: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. That baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, who cried, nursed, and wet, having come into this dimension from another where He always had been . . . was God Himself! Stunning. Inexplicably stunning. God became man without ceasing to be God. Perhaps the Athanasian Creed formulated it best: "Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; . . . perfect God, and perfect man . . . who although he be God and man: yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh: but by taking of the manhood into God.”
So, don’t let your inn get crowded out. Keep the main thing the main thing; the most important where it belongs.
"During the Great Depression that hit the United States in the 1930s, a family in the Midwest struggled to put food on their table. They had no money for luxuries. One day posters all over town announced that a circus was coming. Admission would be $1. A boy in the family wanted to see the show, but his father told him that he would have to earn the money on his own. The youngster had never seen a circus before, so he worked feverishly and was able to buy a ticket. On the day the circus arrived, he went to see the performers and the animals parade through town. As he watched, a clown came dancing over to him, and the boy put his ticket in the clown's hand. Then he stood on the curb and cheered as the rest of the parade moved by. The youngster rushed home to tell his parents what he had seen and how exciting the circus was. His father listened, then took his son in his arms and said, ‘Son, you didn't see the circus. All you saw was the parade.’" (Haddon Robinson, Our Daily Bread; Dec 3, 1995).
The trees, lights, candles and wreaths; even rounds of ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ . . . Christmas has rolled into town. Enjoy it. Enjoy it with family and friends. But remember parades are not the real thing.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
To you and yours: a most blessed Christmas! Blaine