Sermon Preparation -
December 25, 1999

John 1:1-14

The Word was first,
   the Word present to God,
   God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
   in readiness for God from day one.

Everything was created through him;
   nothing -- not one thing! --
   came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
   and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
   the darkness couldn't put it out.

There once was a man, his name John, sent by God to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

The Life-Light was the real thing:
   Every person entering Life
   he brings into Light.
He was in the world,
   the world was there through him,
   and yet the world didn't even notice.
He came to his own people,
   but they didn't want him.
But whoever did want him,
   who believed he was who he claimed
   and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
   their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
   not blood-begotten,
   not flesh-begotten,
   not sex-begotten.

The Word became flesh and blood,
   and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
   the one-of-a-kind glory,
   like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
   true from start to finish.
[The Message]


1. Beginnings are beginnings -- whether beginning beginnings or beginning in between times or beginning endings. With beginnings it is never too early nor too late. So Jesus was at the beginning and Jesus was in Bethlehem 2,000+ years ago and Jesus is making a new beginning today, with you. Narrowing down a beginning to one time and one place is very dangerous business.

2. The end of the beginning is the Light of Life. Can you claim you have some? Do you know where the rheostat is for the light to be turned up? It is in drawing near to one's true self to touch one's child-of-God self. All childhood heroes and heroines and goodness are to move from possibility to probability. Christmas is a time for extravagance, for poetry, for imagination galloping off in all directions. Be not limited by the glory of creation or the "Hark" of herald angels, but rejoice in the beating of your heart and the goodness which can flow through your life to brighten the darkness against its best attempt to shut you up. Glow.

3. So what is this business all about? Pretty straightforwardly it is generosity, it is kindness, it is grace and truth. Practice these in your family, among your friends, in the presence of strangers and the shepherds and magi will still appear. It is still that rare and still that needed. Proceed to graciously generous kindness at warp speed.

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