John starts the story of Jesus by calling him “the Word.” It may sound strange to us, but to Jews and Greeks in the first century, it was a clear signal. God created the world by his Word (Genesis 1) and revealed his wisdom (e.g., Proverbs) and truth by his Word (the Old Testament prophets). For Greeks, the Word or logos was the divine animating reason behind everything.
John claims this Word is Jesus and that Jesus’ story doesn’t start with his birth, it starts with the words “In the beginning.” Genesis 1:1 tells us “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” John frames the story of Jesus in cosmic terms. Jesus is and always has been the eternal creator of all life.
At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation — the incredible mystery that the eternal creator of humanity became fully human. That God himself took on flesh and came to us. But why did Jesus come?
He came because God so loved his creation that he sent Jesus (John 3) not only to rescue us from sin, suffering and death but to restore a fallen creation. The story of Jesus is a second Genesis and Jesus is a second perfect Adam. At Christmas, God begins to recreate the heavens and the earth, a cosmic redemption project he Jesus will one day return to complete (Rev 21).
Until then, as followers of Jesus we live in gratitude that Christ came to give his own life to rescue us and in anticipation that he will one day return to complete his recreative and redeeming work in the world. Advent is the season in which we not only remember what God has done for us in Jesus, but longing to see Jesus again. It is a time to celebrate Jesus as the light shining in the darkness that offers hope to a broken and hurting world.
Take a few moments and consider your own life story. How have you witnessed God’s power to rescue and recreate or redeem your life?
Who in your life could use some hope right now? Spend some time in prayer asking God how this Christmas you can share with them the good news of God’s power to rescue and redeem.
*Consider turning off or dimming the lights as you read John 1:1-5 to your family, and light a candle during verse four. Who is the light? (Jesus) What was the world like before Jesus came? (dark, sinful) What did Jesus bring to the world? (light, truth, God’s word) Do you think your life would be different without Jesus? How? Share with your family one or two ways your life was different before Jesus, and how he changed your life. Ask your children if there is anyone they would like to pray for, that they would also know Jesus.
**Lord, you are our great rescuer and we are so thankful that you would send your Son to live with us and die for us so that we could be with you forever. Help us to see those who need this good news this Christmas. Give us the words to speak light into their lives. Amen.