John 1:1,4,5,14a – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (NIV)
A Latvian friend told me this story that took place more than a half century ago when she was a little girl about 6 or 7. That year, her Christmas gift turned out to be two writing/drawing pads. As a child who believed in Santa, she expected that these pads were made in Santa's workshop and were therefore unique. However, one day, she was downtown, and there before her in a store window were pads identical to those she had received on Christmas Eve! How could this be? "If these pads of paper were made in Santa's workshop," she reasoned, "how could they possibly be identical to the ones I received?" She immediately became suspicious that there was no "Santa". The more she thought about it, the more she became convinced. Nevertheless, she kept this to herself for a year or so, and went along with the "Santa" myth. But for her, truth no longer included the idea that Santa was the giver of the gifts she received at Christmastime. She now knew the real truth.
The truth brings light into our lives. Knowing the truth about matters allows us to make wise choices and proceed with confidence. The truth about the birth and life of Jesus brings new light and new life into our lives. We can live our lives knowing who Jesus is, and why He is so very important to us as our Saviour and Lord.
The Gospel of John gives us a different style of language in telling the story of Jesus' birth. John writes of Jesus as "the Word", the One who pre-existed with God, and who is God. The language about this is as mysterious to us as the concept is. We are being taught that Jesus, the Word, was with God and also is God.
Why did John use "the Word" to identify Jesus? To us that may seem an obscure way to explain the identity of One who offers Himself to be our Saviour and our Lord. But He had a good reason. This gospel was intended to reach the Greeks as well as the Hebrew people. For the Greeks, "the Word" or "the Logos" was a principle of order and knowledge, and it referred to the mind and reason of God. It was "the Logos" that controlled world events and was the judge of truth.
For the Hebrew people "the word" itself had life and power. We find that life and power active when we hear great orators, such as Sir Winston Churchill, who spoke in such a fashion. When the British people were being bombed and this small nation was standing against the power of the great German army, the words of their leader, Churchill, strengthened their resolve and gave them hope. He said, "We have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." And the people were empowered by his words and given hope. Words can reach in to touch and move the human heart to action.
As we read the Bible in the light of God, the Word, coming in Jesus, we receive a fresh, new understanding of its teachings and are given profound implications for how to live. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection bring the light of truth into our lives.
Prayer: God of creation, thank You for coming to us through Jesus' birth. Thank You for the truths that Jesus taught us and lived out during His days on earth. Awaken within us, we pray, more of the truths You have revealed to us in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.