Commentary by Walter Albritton

December 24, 2006


Receive the Living Word and Become a Child of God!


John 1:1-18


Key Verse: The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have been his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. –John 1:14


TGIC! Some folks thank God for Friday. We can do better. We can thank God it’s Christmas again! Despite all the ugliness of the world Christmas is still the most wonderful time of the year.

More people are more generous and kind than at any other time of the year. The stingiest souls among us will give somebody a gift at Christmastime. Even old Ebenezer Scrooge will have a change of heart!

John’s Christmas story is not about shepherds and mangers. It is about the Incarnation, the eternal, invisible God becoming flesh like us. The Incarnation is that pivotal Christian doctrine that describes the indescribable – God becoming a human being.

When we have read the Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke, we have not read enough. There is more. Saint Paul gives us his beautiful account in Philippians, chapter two. And John’s account is like icing on the cake; he makes sure we understand why that baby was born in Bethlehem.

John tells us the difference the birth of Jesus makes in our lives. The benefits of his birth are actually incredible or as Paul says, “Unspeakable”! Had Jesus not been born of Mary we would still not know what God is like. Had he not come we would have remained hopelessly lost, with no hope of salvation.

John beautifully links the creation story in Genesis to the birth of Jesus. By using the words, “In the beginning,” John shows us that Christ was not a new idea but was always in the heart of God.

The eternal nature of God has always been that nature revealed by the coming of Christ. In other words, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have always been wrapped together as One – our “Blessed Trinity.” Love did not come down at Christmas because none of God’s other plans had worked; the birth of Jesus was God’s great plan from “the beginning”!

Think about it from another angle. We are familiar with Paul saying God was “in Christ,” reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). The truth is, God was always “in Christ” and Christ has always been “in God.” That is precisely why Jesus could say to Philip, “When you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9).

Beloved Evangelist E. Stanley Jones called John 1:14 the most important verse in the Bible. Jones went a step farther than inviting people to “receive the Word;” he personalized the Word with his real name, Christ. Jones circled the globe many times inviting people to “receive” Christ and let Jesus be Lord of their lives.

How sad that millions have never been saved by “receiving” Christ! Some have never heard the good news while others have chosen to serve a god of violence and death. Christians, we have work to do! We must not merely sing about “telling it on the mountain;” we must tell it to our neighbors and friends that “Jesus Christ is born”!

In a motel in Virginia early one morning I saw what John felt about the Word becoming flesh. A little boy had gone to sleep waiting to see his daddy who had been away at sea for six months.  But the plane was late and it was two o’clock in the morning before the boy’s daddy shook him awake to give him a hug.

The boy exclaimed with joy, “Daddy, I’ve found you! I’ve found you!” Those words from the past still ring in my ears. They remind me that relationships matter so much more than gifts under a tree. Many hurtful things can separate us in life but nothing is more wonderful than to “find” each other again.

As you mull over the Incarnation, think of yourself as a child lost in the dark and unable to find your way home. Then suddenly you see a light coming. It is your father. He has come to show you the way home. Surely you would cry, “Daddy, you came! You came! You found me!”

That is what Christmas is all about. He came! He came! The Living Word came! And if you will receive him into your heart, you can become a child of God!

Merry Christmas!  

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