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 any thing made that was made.  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.
 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.  He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
 The true light, which gives light to 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.  But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
 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.
In the Name of Jesus,
John begins his gospel account unlike Matthew, Mark or Luke. Rather than speaking about the birth of Jesus in a narrative form, listing a long genealogy, mentioning Mary and Joseph, the manger and shepherds, he begins speaking of Jesus as the Word of God, beginning, not in the manger but “In the beginning…” In hearing the first verse of the first chapter of John’s gospel, one can’t help but think of the comparison to Genesis 1:1, and this is exactly what John intends. The Word of God, who created “all things”, would now become flesh, fully human, and dwell among us, His creation, fulfilling the Promise he spoke to our first parents in Gen. 3 after their fall into Original Sin. The backstory then, for Christmas, is truly the backstory of humanity, where Adam and Even were tempted by the serpent and sin entered into God’s perfect creation. Through this infection of Original sin, all of mankind would perpetually rebel against their Creator, unable to do anything about their predicament. Humanity, in desperate need for a Savior and Redeemer, someone coming from outside of us to save us, to cleanse us from sin and its horrific and tragic effects.
The background of Jesus coming into the world is the darkness of Original sin, and yet John tells us that the Word who came into the world was the light. According to St. John, “The true light, which gives light to everyone” Even though “the world he created and even his own people, whom he had given this promise to through the prophets did not receive him.” Instead of receiving or believing the Word of God who had promised to deliver them through the Seed who would come to crush sin death and the devil, they were looking for what all of us in our sinful flesh look for, false gods, idols, ideologies, systems, or some plan of action that we can follow or accomplish, to make ourselves clean. Our Old Adam, or sinful flesh looks to the Law, some teaching, religion or training that would make us holy and acceptable, yet for man, we are reminded again and again through this same Law, that this is impossible, for we are born into this same darkness of sin and death. In fact spiritually, we are born dead in trespasses and sin, and all that the Law and any additional law or system of our own doing always ends in death.
Thanks be to God that Christmas, and the coming of Jesus in the flesh, as true God and true man, is all about our Lord doing what we could never do for ourselves. It is about as John records, “the right to become children of God. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” The Word of God, the Son of God who speaks and who has created man, has now entered His creation as fully one of us, as a man, who has come to “dwell with us”, to be the Lamb of God who literally shoulders or carries the sins of the whole world on a cross, in order to re-create us with His Word of forgiveness, to cleanse us completely through His Word of Gospel.
Jesus, would have a ministry where he would preach, teach, and even in His speaking, things would actually happen, He would re-create that which was destroyed as a result of sin, He would undo the curse of sin, for He is the Lord of life. Blind men would see, the deaf would hear, the lame would walk, and even the dead would rise again. For His words weren’t just the words of a man, although He was truly man, but He was also truly God, He was the creator of all things as John makes clear,” All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” Vs. 3 .
Jesus didn’t just come to teach however, He did not just come to give us a new system or new way of living better or improvement, He was born to die for us. So, this Christmas morning, the manger always has the cross in view. We can’t speak of Jesus being born of a virgin without also speaking of His suffering under Pontious Pilate, His being crucified, His dying, rising and ascending for you and your salvation as the we confess in the Creed.
As we hear from St. John’s Gospel “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” vs. 14 Here we have more Old Testament language to help us see more clearly who this Jesus truly is, since in the Greek language John is telling us that Jesus became born of the Virgin Mary in order to tabernacle with us. Now that doesn’t seem to make sense in English, but John is letting us know that Jesus was the one present, in the holy of holies in the tabernacle that delivered this Word of forgiveness to God’s saints in the Old Testament. The tabernacle is where, through the sacrifice, atonement for sins was made, and the sinner was cleansed. God Himself would speak the verdict through the priest, the office of the ministry given by God to the His people in the Old Testament. The tabernacle was the center of Israel’s worship, and it went with them wherever they wandered. But Now, John is saying, Jesus is the true tabernacle, everything has now changed with the Advent or arrival of the Word becoming flesh, or Jesus being born of Mary, and Christmas is the real tabernacle coming to be among His people in real flesh and blood. The God who delivered His people Israel out of the bondage of Egyptian slavery, who filled the tabernacle and later the temple of Solomon, the One who is the maker of heaven, earth and everything in it, has come as a human to be the true sacrifice for us, and is full of, not anger and wrath, but grace and truth. For in His suffering and death on the cross, Jesus would take the wrath of God that you deserve as penalty for your sin, for you, in your place. God has spoken, the author of Hebrews tells us in these last days, through His Son, and this is Christmas, the Word has become flesh, for you. To be with YOU. To enter into your life, your suffering, your pain, your sin, to deliver you. To literally Exodus you.
Jesus, who is the Word who became flesh, comes to you this Christmas morning in His true Body broken for you, and His true blood shed for the forgiveness of your sins.
Hundreds of years before the first Christmas morning, the prophet Isaiah tells us:
“For to US a child is born, to US a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.