Christmas Day | The Word Became Flesh | John 1:1-18
Last year in the brightness of Christmas Day,
When the preceding night seemed like a far-away dream,
We took a moment to reflect, and asked a question:
What was Christmas like for Jesus?
We all know what it was like for us, but what about the Birthday Boy?
What about God’s own Son? What was Christmas like for Him?
This year, though, I’ve been asking a different question.
What is Christmas like for the God the Father?
I think it’s a worthy question.
After all, John’s Christmas story starts out sounding so much Genesis;
It sounds so much like the very first words of creation.
It’s a divine perspective this morning, the big picture.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
So, what’s Christmas like for God the Father?
In some ways it is like Christmas for so many other fathers.
On this morning, all over the world, fathers are looking in joy on their children.
They are gathered around, receiving their gifts.
They are happy and singing songs.
Their faces are lit up, enlightened, if you will.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Moments before they were asleep in darkness.
But now everything is bright.
Now they can see clearly.
The light is so bright, they can hardly help it.
They run to rouse their siblings, to wake them from their beds;
That they would come receive their gift, too.
They don’t really deserve what they’re receiving.
That’s part of what makes a gift a gift.
They didn’t earn it.
They don’t deserve it.
It is given for free.
And if they really don’t want it, they can give it back.
That, too, is part of what makes a gift a gift;
It can’t come by force.
What’s Christmas like for God the Father?
It’s like the fullest and greatest meaning of that otherwise cliché Christmas saying:
“It’s better to give than to receive.”
What makes God the Father glad is to give to you, to provide for you.
The reverse doesn’t really work.
There’s nothing you can give Him that He needs.
You don’t have anything He wants.
You are what He wants.
He gives to you, because He wants you,
Because He desires you, because He loves you.
For everyone who ever wondered if that could really be true,
The Father’s answer is lying in the manger,
Where the divine “Yes” to your every hope is sucking His thumb.
I suppose that is the simple part.
But there’s a tension to all of this, too.
What is Christmas like for the Father?
It’s like having two sons, both named Adam – one old, one new.
The older Adam tries to hold on to this, his brother.
But he is careless.
He drops him, and walks away in search of something more fun.
When He returns, He does so as Adam’s son, Cain.
To kill His righteous brother.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
What’s Christmas like for God the Father?
It’s like looking down on everything He made,
Everything that was once good, as He intended;
Everything that was pure and beautiful and true,
Now corrupted, dark, and false.
It’s like looking down on a garden that had been poisoned,
But lo, He has preserved a portion of virgin soil.
And there, He will replant His garden.
This Seed will grow.
Amidst thorns and ravaging birds,
Under winter snow and scorching heat,
Through thrones and stones,
The Root of Jesse will sprout up as the Tree of Life.
And from that Tree, a new and better Eden.
Just in case that sounds too abstract, even after last night, John goes on.
He goes on to say what Christmas is for you.
For every son of Adam, for every daughter of Eve – for you,
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.
The glory that descended upon Sinai and terrified the people;
The glory that Zechariah beheld and terrified him,
The glory that surrounded the shepherds, and made them sore afraid;
That glory has been revealed in a little Child;
And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Gift upon gift; blessing upon blessing; forgiveness upon forgiveness.
The true image of the Father, which man could never imagine, has been revealed.
God has made Himself known.
That’s what Christmas is like for God the Father.
He looks with joy on His children –
Once lost, now found;
Once in darkness; now enlightened;
Once dead, now alive;
Once empty, now full;
Gathered around the Tree of Life,
And receiving the gifts that come to them there:
Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation;
Knowledge and wisdom,
The Father’s love,
The Son’s life,
The Spirit’s light.