Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve (late)

Dr. Jim and I have this little ritual that unfolds each Christmas: I remember late in the week that I should ask him to read—and not simply assume that he’ll do it. And every year Jim agrees to read far too quickly, at least in comparison to everyone I ask to read, every other time we have a service. Sometimes I’ll add some kind of attachment to the request, maybe a flu shot or some random ache or pain, and he politely meets those needs too.

Our shared passion for John’s prologue, the first dozen-and-a-half verses of John’s Gospel, means that this service is a highlight of the year. John’s first section sets the tenor and tone of the whole book. It combines cosmology and context, some foreshadowing, and a direct appeal to the soul of the reader. It is a symphony of metaphor: Witness to the light, the true light, the Word made flesh, determined to live among us.

It’s also a manifesto, a passionate statement of intention, and it’s touched more lives than any other manifesto.

It’s the beginning of an epic, a story of signs and self-revelation, and it’s certainly touched more lives that the Iliad or the Odyssey or any other classical text.

It’s a worldview and a challenge to the reader, and it’s certainly touched more lives than an entire industry of gurus and guides.

And it’s a retreat from the comfort of shepherds and angels, clothing that swaddles and the puzzle of being sore afraid. John’s prologue doesn’t replace those stories, it completes them. It gives them meaning beyond a foundational story and shoots for the stars. It drags us back to the beginning when God-in-Christ and Christ-in-God birth the cosmos, reveal the light, and establish a realm of grace and truth.

Now the challenge: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” See the challenge? Can you recognize him? Can you let his light shine in the shadowed places in your life? In my life? Sometimes recognition is slow to come, but God is persistent. The Maker of Heaven and earth has returned tonight to ask for our lives once more. We should say yes. Amen.


Post a Comment

<< Home