And the Word Became FleshDan Doyle
The four Gospels are very different in many ways. While Matthew and Luke cover the genealogy of Jesus, they do it from different directions. Luke counts heads from Abraham down to Jesus. Matthew counts them from Jesus back to Adam. Mark does not cover the birth narrative at all, but focuses on the adult ministry of Jesus. John starts his Gospel off at the very heart of the incarnational mission. He writes, ʺThe word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, ‘This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ʺ From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.ʺ
There is the center of the truth. Jesus IS the Word, the One and Only, who existed before John, who came among us and made his dwelling. It is from him that we have received all that is good, true and beautiful. Christmas Day has come and gone, as it must in the finite world. But the Incarnation that happened that day so long ago is still with us. He is the source of all of our graces, of our faith, of all of our hopes, and of our deepest desires to love all others as he loved all of us. The birth of that small babe in that out-of-the-way place, in that humble stable, has made everything meaningful. Our suffering, our individual failings, everything now has a meaning that can withstand doubt and fear. It was for those sufferings, for those failings that He came among us. They are the reason for why He focused his love for us in flesh and blood. He could not abandon us. Indeed, his great desire was to come among us in the flesh to let us see, to touch, and to hear, his unconditional love and care for us. He wanted us to see what real compassion looks like. He wanted us to know the real costs of love in this fractured and tortured world and how those costs, paid willingly, can save everything.
Jesus is the gift that surpasses all gifts. There is nothing more valuable than the salvation that would come through that innocent babe in the manger, who would grow to teach, to suffer with and for us, even unto death, in order to free us from our sins and to open the gates of Paradise to us once again.
Love is the reason for this season. Nothing more and nothing less. The Church, then, cannot be a shelter for sad people, it must be a house of joy! Let it be so in our Churches and in our homes. Let our hearts be houses of joy, for Jesus Christ has entered them as surely as he entered history 2,013 years ago. We should be singing ʺHosannah in Excelsis Deoʺ all year long. Amen!