Not all of the Gospels include the Christmas story.
Matthew starts with the genealogy of Jesus and then tells an interesting rendition of the birth story with no shepherds or singing angels.
Mark skips the whole baby Jesus thing and jumps straight in with grown-up Jesus being baptized.
Luke backs up to include the foretelling of the birth of Jesus' cousin, John. And then he tells the version of the Christmas story that feels most familiar to us. You know, the one when Caesar Augustus sent a decree and Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And John does something different.
He begins at the VERY beginning.
John introduces us from the first sentence to Jesus, the Word. And He tells a story I desperately need to remember at Christmas.
John 1:1-5, 14
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.
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.
Jesus, the Word of God, made flesh at Christmas.
Word is an interesting thing to call Jesus, isn’t it? When John began his Gospel in this way, he was reminding his audience of how Jesus fit into the Big Story of the Bible.
Since the beginning of the world, God had spoken. He had sent thousands of words, but He had been ignored and misunderstood by people who couldn't — and wouldn't — hear.
So what do you do when you have thought to communicate? When you have something you need someone to know? How do you make something clear when people can't or won't understand?
You need words.
A lost and dying world has no way of knowing God — without His Word.
Jesus is God made clear. God made knowable.
Jesus is the Word of God made flesh!
Thank you, John, for an unconventional Christmas story.
This Christmas, celebrate more than a baby. Don't miss the cosmic, beautiful miracle of God sending His Word to dwell with us. And don't wait until Easter to celebrate the saving work of the Word of God.
Merry Christmas! The Word has come!