Christmas Day: John’s Prologue

Two of the three gospel readings that are offered for Christmas services in our lectionary use the story of the nativity from Luke, the story acted out in Christmas pageants and plays, the story of the manger and the shepherds and the angels,

then the third gospel reading is this from John:

In the beginning was the Word.

Not content to begin with the birth of Jesus, to celebrate Christmas as a natal festival, a happy moment, John takes us all the way back to the very beginnings of creation, when the Spirit of God moved over the waters of the deep.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Saviour, our Lord, we come to the cradle, the stable, the manger in adoration,

but John reminds us that even as we kneel among the shepherds, gaze with Mary upon the face of the newborn Jesus, hear the angels’ glad tidings of good news for all people, that God has been born among us, Emmanuel,

even so, John reminds us that God has never not been present with us, among us, beside us.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Jesus is born. Jesus lived among us as one of us, the Word of God made incarnate, enfleshed. The Word that was from the beginning with God, who was God, took on our mortal flesh, and he was born, and he lived, and he died.

But the darkness could not, has not overcome his light, and even as he was from the beginning, he will be until the end. Even as there has never been a time when God was not with us, there never will be a time when God will abandon us. God loves us. God loved us enough to be born among us; the Word made flesh.

And in this holy child, the Word made flesh, we have seen the glory of God, full of grace and truth.

We celebrate Christmas today, the birth of a child, laid in a manger, and the glory of God made manifest, which was and is and forever will be, God who was ever with us, God whose light will never leave us.

Thanks be to God.

About Rosalind C Hughes

Rosalind C Hughes is a priest and author living near the shores of Lake Erie. After growing up in England and Wales, and living briefly in Singapore, she is now settled in Ohio. She serves an Episcopal church just outside Cleveland. Rosalind is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing , and Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence, both from Upper Room Books. She loves the lake, misses the ocean, and is finally coming to terms with snow.
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