Before Jesus’ birth, the angels appeared to some shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem. They came announcing good news of peace and renewal – tidings of comfort and joy.
We asked 25 people to prepare a meditation for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. We are delighted to share their work with you.
God bless you as you read, listen and pray.
John 1: 1 – 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 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 testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth….’
John’s account of the coming of Jesus into the world doesn’t sound very Christmassy: no baby, no manger, no heavenly host, no shepherds, no oxen lowing. Instead, in the majestic prologue to John’s Gospel we have what looks like another story: the story of the Word.
It begins in eternity: everything that God is, the Word was. We hear of the Word’s part in the creation of the universe, and then of His visit to our world: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” So the Word became one of us; here on earth He lived and He died.
Next we learn through John the Baptist that the Word is none other than Jesus of Nazareth; He is standing there unrecognised in the crowd pressing round John the Baptist near the River Jordan. He is, says the gospel writer, “one you do not know”; He, the Word through whom all things were made, is a stranger in his own creation.
And that’s still true, isn’t it? People gaze at the Christmas baby but they don’t recognise Him. They don’t realise who He is. He looks so cute, so tiny, so vulnerable lying there in his manger. They want to pick Him up and cuddle Him rather than bow before Him. But we who have come to put our trust in Him know better.
We see Him as the one who has made God not only known to us but real to us. The baby in the manger, who will grow up to be known as the Saviour of the world, and to die on a cross for us, is our God, full of grace and truth.
And we are God’s children. We belong to His family. We share His life. We are eternally loved.
We have so much to look forward to: not just our Christmas festivities, whatever form they may have to take this year, but the rest of our life here, and then eternity with Him. Surely we have every reason to rejoice in our God today.