Daily Reflection – 12/31/18
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 came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him. (John 1:1-18)
This, for St. John, is the Christmas story and it is set in the context of creation, “In the beginning.” Creation is not an event of the past but the ongoing life of God with his people. St. John echoes and continues the Genesis story of creation, “In the beginning God said, ‘Let there be…’ and there was….” Land, sky, vegetation, living creatures from the water, birds of the air, living creatures from the earth, and humankind made in the image and likeness of God.
Christmas is God continuing to give life to his people. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” Christmas, says St. Gregory of Nyssa, is the “festival of re-creation.” It is God giving God’s own life to his people
This festival of re-creation is God’s celebration of humanity. It is God entrusting God’s self to human beings, to you and to me. It is God’s reaffirmation of humanity’s goodness. It is the sharing and exchanging of life between God and you and me. That’s why the early church could say that God became human so that humanity might become God. The Son of God became the son of man so that the sons of men might become sons of God. Divinity was clothed in humanity so that humanity might clothed in divinity.
How beautiful is that? It means we are holy and intended to be holy, not as an achievement on our own but as a gift of God. This is the gift of Christmas. We have been given the power to become children of God. This happens not by blood, or the will of the flesh, or the will of people, but by God. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.”
God sees humanity as the opportunity and the means to reveal himself. Yet far too often we use our humanity as an excuse. “I’m only human,” we declare, as if we are somehow deficient. We fail to see, to believe, to understand that in the Word becoming flesh and living among us we are God’s first sacrament. Human beings are the tangible, outward, and visible signs and carriers of God’s inward and spiritual presence.
Prayer of The Day
Lord, thank you for coming to look for me. Today I want to look for you, too. Help me to discover you in faith. Help me to see the signs of your presence in the Church, the sacraments, and the good you sow in those around me. Give me an open heart to listen to your Word, and to welcome you into my life.
God offers us a gift – a gift of transformation into Christ. If we are open to it, he deeply changes our relationship with him. Through Christ, we have the confidence to come before the Father and call him our “Father,” not just our “Creator.” Through Christ, we have the power to lay aside sin and put on the holiness of God.