THE WORD BECAME FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US
(A biblical reflection on CHRISTMAS DAY – Friday, 25 December 2015)
Gospel Reading: John 1:1-18
First Reading: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalms: Psalm 98:1-6; Second Reading: Hebrews 1:1-6
The Scripture Text
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. ‘In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world knew Him not. He came to His own home, and His own people received Him not. But to all who received Him, whop believed in His name, He gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. (John bore witness to Him, and cried, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, for He was before me.’”) And from His fullness have we all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Jesus Christ. No one has even seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known. (John 1:1-18 RSV)
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14)
He became Son of Man who was God’s own Son, so that He might make the sons of men to be children of God. When the high associate with the lowly, they do not detract from their own honor but raise up the lowly, and this was the way it was with the Lord. He did not diminish His own nature by lowering Himself to become man, but raised us, who had always sat in disgrace and darkness, to unspeakable glory.
A king, conversing with interest and kindness with a poor man, does not at all shame himself, but makes the poor man illustrious and observed by all. If association with a humbler person in no way injures the more honourable man, then how much less can it do so for that blessed divine Essence. …… So when we (you and I) hear that “the Word became flesh”, we do not have to feel disturbed or cast down. For the divine Essence did not change to flesh, but without abandoning His status as God, the Second Person took upon Himself the form of a servant.
What was the tabernacle in which He dwelt? The prophet says, “I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen” (Amos 9:11). It was fallen indeed. Our nature had suffered an incurable fall, and only that mighty hand could rescue us. There was no possibility of raising that nature again if He who had fashioned it at first had not stretched out His hand and stamped us anew with His image, by the regeneration of water and the Holy Spirit.
Let’s observe the inexpressible nature of this mystery. He inhabit this tabernacle forever. He clothed Himself with our flesh, not to leave it again but to have it with Him always. If this had not been the case, He would not have deemed our flesh worthy of the royal throne, nor would He, while wearing it, have been worshipped by all the host of heaven. …… What word, what thought can represent such great honor done to our race, so truly marvellous and awesome? What angel, what archangel? No one in any place, whether in heaven or on earth. God’s mighty works are so great and marvelous that neither human tongue, nor even angelic power, can describe them! (From a homily of St. John Chrysostom [c. 347-407]).
Prayer: Lord Jesus, my Savior, I love You! Thank You for coming into the world and into my heart. I rejoice that I have been blessed to see Your glory in my life. On this special day, let me speak of the joy of Your coming to everyone I meet! Amen.
Jakarta, 24 December 2015
A Christian Pilgrim