December 25, 2003

John 1:1-14

    [1] The Word was first,
        the Word present to God,
        God present to the Word.
    The Word was God,
        [2] in readiness for God from day one.
    [3] Everything was created through him;
        nothing - not one thing!-
        came into being without him.
    [4] What came into existence was Life,
        and the Life was Light to live by.
    [5] The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
        the darkness couldn't put it out.

    [6] There once was a man, his name John, sent by God [7] to point out the way to the Life-Light. He came to show everyone where to look, who to believe in. [8] John was not himself the Light; he was there to show the way to the Light.

    [9] The Life-Light was the real thing:
        Every person entering Life
        he brings into Light.
    [10] He was in the world,
        the world was there through him,
        and yet the world didn't even notice.
    [11] He came to his own people,
        but they didn't want him.
    [12] 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.
    [13] These are the God-begotten,
        not blood-begotten,
        not flesh-begotten,
        not sex-begotten.
    [14] 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>

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1. Time and again we are drawn to previous beginnings, new beginnings in our time, and future beginnings. These are moments of meaning that echo far beyond their beginning. Some are helpful and others get in the way. Blessings and curses follow for generations, some untold. Christmas is an echo of a previous beginning of "Word", an event unto itself, an expectation of what more is to come.

2. When the darkness cannot put out a light begun, we hear an echo. The darkness also cannot hold back light from coming in the first place. The darkness of the womb cannot hang on to the light within for either its own sake or to protect the world outside. The darkness of the world cannot cap the womb so it doesn't have to change.

3. What burns brightly in the midst of darkness is generous grace, expansive hospitality, and the truth of love. Christmas is an event for each life, each moment, to be rekindled again, to newly flicker and blaze, and to presage new Christmases such as Good Friday and Easter and Pentecost (plus all the other moments nurturing one toward these flashes of light begun and continued).