In the beginning was the Word; the Word was in God’s presence, and the Word was God. He was present to God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, and apart from him, nothing came to be. Whatever came to be in him found life, life for the light of the human race. The light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we have seen his glory: The glory of an only Son coming from the Father, filled with enduring love. John 1:1-5, 14
Today, we celebrate the Word that became flesh, Jesus. No, Christmas is really not over; it continues. We have reason to celebrate, to laugh, to sing, to dance. As the Reading from John’s Gospel tells us, if we live in the Word, then we will have life and light. So, no matter the darkness of any year, even this past one, the light shines in the darkness and darkness cannot overcome it. What happy news; what a perfect promise!
It is true that we do not yet know what lies ahead for us, but we give thanks to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit for the past year’s blessings, even if they came disguised in suffering. We pray for all we need in the year to come. Even if we do not and cannot know what we will need, the Word living within us knows. So, we ask the Word to dance with us into an unknown future.
As we look at John’s Gospel, we see he says “In the beginning…” This reminds us of the Genesis story, telling us that creation is part of the ongoing life of God with his people. The earth, the sky, the universe, all vegetation, all living creatures, and we ourselves are made in the image and likeness of God. So, on this day before the New Year, we give thanks for creation and hold all of it in reverence.
Yes, the Word became flesh and lived among us, lives among us. He came to live the life that we live; he wanted us to know him, to hear his voice, to touch him, to eat his body. He wanted to live our lives so that we could live his life. What does that mean each day? It means that, living in Jesus, we are sacraments of God’s love. We are signs outwardly, visibly, tangibly, of God’s presence. Let’s not say this coming year, “Hey, I’m only human.” Human beings are the image of God. If we live this reality, life has to mean more and more. This is the truth of Christmas.
Christmas changes the way we see ourselves and those around us, the way we speak and act and live. It is the way we see the stranger, the people we love and those we fear; it is the way we treat those like us and those different from us. Christmas did not end with a day. Let’s keep celebrating and Christmassing throughout the year, throughout our lives!
Jesus, the Word Made Flesh is our thirty-third Ornament of Grace.
Observing the Beautiful Ornaments
How does seeing yourself as made in the image and likeness of God give you a new sense of self-worth?
How can we continue Christmassing, being gifts to one another, even after the official holidays are over?