Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Word became Flesh

John's narrative of the incarnation is as succinct as it is direct. "The Word became flesh and lived among us." It is a little more difficult to sentimentalise these words and produce romanticised images for Christmas cards or nativity scenes. John cuts through the birth narratives of Matthew and Luke to get straight to the point - God the creator has become created.

The mystery of this paradox lies at the centre of the Christian faith. Whilst we might want to take control of our spiritual journey as followers of Jesus, asking 'what would Jesus do', this paradox of grace is beyond our control. This is because what Jesus would do is what God does in our midst for our sake and the sake of "all things [that] came into being through him".

As Nicodemus will find out, in chapter 3 of John's gospel, to be involved in God's life involves being 'born from above' something which can not be achieved through our own doing but only through God's. As John writes in 1:16 "From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace."
Our celebration of this gift of grace, that is to say the incarnation of God in Jesus, may be to seek to follow Jesus and ask what he would do but it is God who shines the light into our lives and into this world.

This is the good news of a Christmas spirituality - we do not have to earn God's favour but through grace we can celebrate what God has already done for us in sharing our existence. We can do this as we enter into the rhythm of weekly worship, eating bread and wine, feasting on God's word, showing compassion for those around us and caring for this creation for which Christ came.

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