Passage: John 1:1–1:14
†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: John 1:1-14
Date: December 25th, 2017; Christmas Day
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
It’s no surprise to find God “in the beginning,” as we do in the first chapter of Genesis.
After all, he’s uncreated, infinite, and eternal.
He always has been and he always will be.
He is without beginning and without end - the Alpha and the Omega.
If it were any other way, he wouldn’t be God.
Everything else, everything that is not God - whether visible or invisible, is part of his creation.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
He made everything out of nothing.
He spoke all creation into being by his Word, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).
Like Genesis, our Gospel lesson for this Christmas morning also starts before creation with the words “in the beginning” - but, it offers this twist: “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1).
Prior to creation, when there was nothing besides God, there was God’s Word.
St. John puts it like this, “The Word was with God.”
The Word and God are described as two distinct divine persons. The Word is a divine person.
“The Word was God,” uncreated, infinite, and eternal God.
Through this Word, there in the beginning, “all things were made.”
The Word was the agent by whom God spoke the entire creation into being, “like a master workman,” as it says in Proverbs.
Light and life have their beginning and source in him.
As we read in Genesis, all that he made was very good.
Fast forward through time, however, from “the beginning” to this moment - and what you find is far different.
There is sin, and sickness, and sorrow. There is death and darkness.
Humanity is lost, disoriented, alienated - and constantly inventing false gods to fill the void and the emptiness.
Humanity is focused on, and devoted to, the creation - not the Creator.
Our sin leads to death and destruction.
But, in his love and mercy - God entered the place where we are, he became what we are - so that we lost and condemned creatures would be saved from our sin and death and be restored in his image.
This is the great surprise and wondrous mystery of Christmas.
God shows up in a place where we certainly don’t expect to find him, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
God the Word, who was there in the beginning and participated in the creation of all things, took on a human nature like yours.
The Uncreated became a creature. The Infinite became limited and bound.
The Word became flesh, Jesus Christ, true God and true man in one person.
He is the light of the world, the light that shines in our darkness, the light that no darkness can ever overcome.
He was born of a woman, Mary his mother, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and laid in a manger for a bed.
He was before Abraham, even before Adam - and yet he can be found in Bethlehem as a tiny babe.
The one who made the forests and the mountains has come also with arms outstretched on a wooden cross raised up on a hilltop.
There the Creator of heaven and earth suffered and bled and died for his creation. There the Creator of heaven and earth saved and redeemed you.
The one in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) was wrapped in linen and rested in a tomb - bursting forth on the third day - defeating death for you.
The one who made the wheat and the vine - comes to you now in bread and wine.
His true body and true blood are present on this altar, given for you for the forgiveness of your sins and for the promise of eternal life.
God the Word who was in the beginning - is now and forever incarnate in the person of Jesus Christ, your Saviour.
The uncreated, eternal, and infinite God became flesh and dwells among us as our light and our life.
This is what endures of Christmas long after the gifts are opened, the decorations are gone and packed away, and the holiday joy gives way to the new week of work.
I invite you, and encourage you, to join us at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church throughout the whole year as we continue to receive the gifts of the loving and merciful God who dwells with us. Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.