Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Christmas Gift

For many of us, the Christmas season is a celebration of the humble beginnings of a Savior. The gospel of John reminds us that the story of Christ, the Redeemer, began long before this day. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Our human minds package the Christmas story neatly with Mary and Joseph in the stable surrounded by peaceful animals and visiting shepherds. Then we place a big bow on top with angels singing praises and a few fancy gifts from afar. Our picture comes from other gospel writers. John simply calls this gift “The Word made flesh.”

Our mortal eyes see the life of Christ fixed in time – beginning at Bethlehem and ending on a hillside outside Jerusalem. From the appearance one angel to a young woman named Mary, and another to Mary Magdalene outside an empty tomb. For John, the story dwells between two leaders for the kingdom – John the Baptist to warm up the crowd and Peter who would take “The Jesus Show” on its first world tour.

This season as we approach the manger where Jesus was born, let us consider the words that John uses to conclude his gospel. Just after the establishment of Peter as the future leader of Christ’s message, John writes, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

John says we have just a glimpse of who God is through His Son. He is a living God, not confined by a mere story. If Jesus’ life on earth cannot be contained within the pages of a book (nor the entire volume of cyberspace), then how much greater must be His presence throughout the ages!

His birth is merely a piece of the picture. The Word – Jesus – has been in the story of the world the whole time. The Son of God was present in the garden of Eden. The Word of God was with Moses. The King of Kings stood with David. The Messiah walked with Daniel. The Eternal God appeared to John.

And what about today? Yes, the story of Jesus Christ the Redeemer continues in my life and in yours. He offers the gift of Himself this Christmas season. A gift that keeps on giving.

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