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The wonderful news of Christmas

For Christmas we have wonderful images, particularly from Luke and Matthew. From Luke we get the image of the baby in the manger, with the shepherds and the angels, with Mary and Joseph, and the animals. And from Matthew we get the images of the three kings, and their kneeling before the child, their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But John, in his Gospel, paints his pictures in words, powerful words, in poetry, in the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1.

Just in those few words John somehow describes that God and the Word are one, and yet distinct. He says the Word was there at the beginning, and participated in creation, all things were made through him, without him nothing was made. The Word brought logic, brought order, brought meaning into the world, the mind of God is that Word. And then we get to the nub, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word became a person who lived and breathed right alongside each of us.

This is the central meaning of Christmas for John, that the Word, the one who was with God at the beginning, the one through whom the universe was created, the mind of God, became flesh, became a human being, became that baby, and grew up and lived and worked among us.

He showed us who and what God was and is: love, grace and truth. He shared our space, living in a particular place at a particular time. He shared our experience, growing up as a baby, then a boy, becoming a man. He knew pain, knew joy, touched and shaped wood, shared with all the messiness of life and temptation. He saw poverty, power and evil. But he shared his heart with us as well. He showed us what true love really is, because Christmas isn’t Christmas without the cross, the ultimate sacrifice of love.

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. God came down to us, to be with us, God with us, Immanuel. In Jesus, God came down right here in the middle of all our trouble and pain, human tragedy, sin and death. That is the meaning and wonder of Christmas. God is with us with we are hit with bad news or good news. God is with us when we feel guilty and ashamed. God is with us when we are worried about someone we love. And God is with us when we take on important tasks. This is good news as Christmas moves us shortly into a new year. What wonderful news that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This is the wonderful news of Christmas.

REV. DALE Brown is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian Churches. His email address is dalembesq@aol.com.