1 In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.
If you are like many people, by about 9:00 am on Christmas Day, most of the festivities are over. The gifts have all been torn open – though there’s still some stray ribbon, packaging, and boxes on the floor here and there – and everyone is happily setting up their new electronics. Everything else about the holiday season seems to go downhill from here.
John doesn’t have a story of Jesus’ birth. He instead has a story of Jesus’ incarnation. He doesn’t take us back in time to Bethlehem. He takes us back before time, before space, before everything. John’s introduction is a deliberate echo of Genesis: “In the beginning…” Jesus is God’s Word, spoken over our world.
It’s easy for us to see Christmas as an ending. After so much build-up, how could it not be?
But Christmas isn’t an ending. It’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of a whole new way of humanity relating to God. It’s a whole new way of us relating to one another. God is right here – with us and among us. It’s what God always wanted to do. It’s what God always planned to do. From the very beginning.
The other day, I was at Wawa when I momentarily stepped out of the checkout line to get one more item. I stepped back into line behind the guy who arrived in the meantime. He gestured for me to go ahead. I said, “No, it’s ok, you go ahead.” But he just stood there pointing for me to take my place in front of him. Again, I said, “Seriously, it’s ok, you go.” Still, he didn’t move. I said, “It appears we’ve reached an impasse.” “‘Tis the season,” he said, smiling. I realized I wasn’t going to win and stepped in front of him.
We think of Christmas as a season, and we go above and beyond to show kindness for a season. But the problem is – every season must come to an end. God’s intention was never to create a season, but a whole new way of being. Christmas never ends – it’s always just beginning!
By Joe Monahan
For Pondering & Prayer
When you read the “Christmas Story” from John’s gospel, what do you take away that you can’t get from reading Luke’s version?
Are there concrete ways you can ensure that your “Christmas Season” way of being extends into the New Year and beyond?