This morning we explored the Christmas story according to John’s Gospel. No angels, no virgin birth, no shepherds or wise men – not even a mention of Mary or Joseph. John’s version of the Christmas story begins in eternity past.
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 people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…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 1:1-5, 14)
Let me share two thoughts on the incarnation – one from a Church Father and the other from an Irish poet.
“The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. For one who wanted to make a display the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could bear it, not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it.” (Athanasius, On the Incarnation)
I remember coming back from a very long tour…. On Christmas Eve I went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. …It had dawned on me before, but it really sank in: the Christmas story. The idea that God, if there is a force of Love and Logic in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty… a child, I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry. Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and …tears came down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this. Because that’s exactly what we were talking about earlier: love needs to find form, intimacy needs to be whispered. To me, it makes sense. It’s actually logical. It’s pure logic. Essence has to manifest itself. It’s inevitable. Love has to become an action or something concrete. It would have to happen. There must be an incarnation. Love must be made flesh.” (Bono)
What does the Incarnation mean to you? How do you understand this mystery of Word made flesh? What implications does the Incarnation have in your everyday, ordinary life?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Song of Hope (Robbie Seay Band)
- Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Daniel Renstrom version)
- Hope Is Dawning (Matt Maher, Aaron Keyes and Michael Gungor)
- Reading from Isaiah 9
- The Advent Antiphons
- O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Lincoln Brewster version)
- Announcements and Offering
- Message (Advent Conspiracy – Give More)
- This Is How We Know (Matt Redman)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.