Saturday, 24 December 2022

The Word was made flesh...and we have seen his glory

Isaiah 52.7-10 Rejoice, for the Lord is consoling his people

Hebrews 1.1-6 God has spoken to us through his Son

John 1.1-14 The Word was made flesh, and lived among us


‘The Word was made flesh…and we have seen his glory’




Sports Personality of the Year. Strictly Come Dancing. The Great British Bake Off. Masterchef.


All these shows culminate in the big reveal, the moment when the speculation ends ‘and the winner is…’


It’s so exciting when the winner is revealed after all those rounds, the ups and downs, will it be the person I want or expect?


You may not notice it at first glance but something like that is what St John is doing in the opening verses of his Gospel; and it’s what lies at the very heart of Christmas.


He is revealing something for us to see and to know.


All that St John points to culminates not in the words, ‘and the winner is…’ but in the words, ‘and the Word was made flesh…’


The Word, that was in the beginning with God, because the Word is God, has become flesh: Jesus Christ is God, born of Mary, from whom he receives his humanity.


St John unfolds the mystery of the Incarnation in one overarching sweep, starting ‘in the beginning’.


Our first reading from Isaiah is part of that great arc of salvation:


‘your God is King!’

‘the Lord is consoling his people and redeeming Jerusalem’

‘all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God’.


This is picked up and reflected on in our second reading from the Letter to the Hebrews:


1Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. (Hebrews 1.1,2)


This is the Theodrama, the unfolding drama of God from the beginning, to the coming of Christ, into which you and I are invited.


The decisive moment in God’s drama is not ‘and the winner is…’ followed by a gushing speech, but ‘the Word was made flesh’ revealed in the Child of Bethlehem followed by his teaching, healing, raising to life, his passion and death, his resurrection and ascension.


What we see is in the Letter to the Hebrews:


[Christ] is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. (Hebrews 1.3)


The ‘Bake Off’ or ‘Strictly’ audience can’t wait to see the winner, but we see so much more: ‘and we have seen his glory’.


‘The Word was made flesh… and we have seen his glory’.


Where we go from there is not to write a cookery book, start a restaurant or write a tell all biography, but rather finding ourselves beholding and contemplating Jesus Christ, the Word made Flesh, and growing in his image and likeness.


It’s not about being a ‘winner’ in the world’s terms; life is not competition and rivalry, but sharing in Christ’s victory over sin and death so that we are re-formed in his image and likeness and see God the Father.


‘And the Word was made flesh…and we have seen his glory’


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