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Sunday, December 22, 2013
Today’s Reading | John 1:10–14
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (NRSV)
“You ask me how I know he lives, he lives within my heart.” Thus the last line of the refrain of a hymn we learned at grade school, “Christ Jesus Lives Today.” Two particularly naughty and irreverent boys in the class (full disclosure—one was me!) would sing out heartily, “You ask me how I know he lives, he lives in my backyard.”
We thought we were so smart and funny; little did we realize that this is actually quite close to what John meant when he wrote the great prelude to his gospel: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” The way John expressed the concept “dwelt among us” in the original language was to write that the Word “pitched his tent with ours.”
As close as we are to “the big day,” perhaps this is a good time to reflect on the mind-blowing, sheer foolishness (see 1 Corinthians 1:23) of this God who will give up the attributes of the deity (power, omniscience, etc.) to be human, to pitch a tent with ours, to live in our backyard.
The result of this for God is expressed powerfully in an affirmation of faith we have sometimes said in worship: “We believe that God resides in slums, lives in broken homes and hearts, suffers our loneliness, rejection, and powerlessness.” Perhaps a draughty stable in the middle of nowhere on a winter night was the only place that the miracle could take place.
Come down, O Love divine, seek out this soul of mine
and visit it with your own ardor glowing. Amen.
(Hymn text by Bianco da Siena, d. 1434)
Reflection written by Calum I. MacLeod, Executive Associate Pastor
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