Christmas Day, December 25 JOHN GENESIS LIGHT, PURPOSE
Beginning today and for the next twelve days we enter the time known as Christmastide. The Council of Tours in the sixth century established this season in order to celebrate the Nativity not one day but twelve. Christmas themes continue.
Scripture: 1 John 1:1-7
1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. 6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. 7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
The pairing of yesterday’s Luke 2:1-20 and today’s pericope is profound. (You may want to reread Luke’s account.) The 1 John passage sounds a great deal like the opening of John’s gospel since “the one whom Jesus loved,” wrote both. What you have in his gospel is John’s declaring the One who has existed from the beginning is the Word of life (John 1:1-2). Like Peter (2 Peter 1:16-18), he appeals to his own firsthand primary source eyewitness evidence as to the authenticity of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, the giver of eternal life. Though it is obvious, it is so important to remember that John and Peter knew Jesus personally. This letter is not a “hand-me-down” account as some people might suggest. They touched Jesus; they lived with Jesus. They travelled and ate with Jesus. They knew what his speaking voice sounded like. (Don’t you wish you knew?)
In his gospel, John hearkens back to Genesis 1 with references to God and light, where God spoke light into being and that light brought order to the chaos and darkness at the very dawn of creation. In this epistle, John again refers to the light as associated with creation bringing order to chaos and darkness, not to an earthly darkness, but a spiritual darkness ruling the land.
The Lukan passage narrates the thread of the creation of fellowship with God from a little different perspective. Here the Light enters the world in the form of a flesh and blood human baby as God’s grand plan comes into full play, that of bringing hope and salvation to the chaos of a broken, dark world. This Word of life came from the very presence of the Father. Just as the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at creation, so that same Spirit hovered over the virgin Mary at the conception of the Son, the Word of life. The Light of the world opened the door for a new creation, but now it was a spiritual creation of fellowship with the God and other believers via the cleansing blood of Jesus.
Christmas leads to Easter; Easter leads to the Ascension; the Ascension leads to Pentecost; Pentecost leads to the Second Coming and the eternal reign of King of kings. The purpose of creation is fulfilled, that of bringing glory to God. A further purpose is the invitation to all to share in the love and fellowship of the Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And by the grace of God, all this from a baby born in Bethlehem, Israel some 2,000 years ago. “Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Music: “Fanfare and Carol, O Come, All Ye Faithful” Phillip Jones Brass Ensemble and Bach Choir
Bonus: “Many Moods of Christmas” all four Suites of Christmas Music about an hour
In length. Atlanta Symphony and Chorus and Robert Shaw
Almighty God, we give thee thanks for the mighty yearning of the human heart for the coming of a Savior, and the constant promise of thy Word that He was to come. In our own souls we repeat the humble sighs and panting aspirations of ancient men and ages, and own that our souls are in darkness and infirmity without faith in Him who comes to bring God to man and man to God. We bless thee for the tribute that we can pay to Him from our very sense of need and dependence, and that our own hearts can so answer from their wilderness, the cry, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” In us, the rough places are to be made smooth, the crooked straight, the mountains of pride brought low, and the valleys of despondency lifted up. O God, prepare Thou the way in us now, and may we welcome anew Thy Holy Child. Hosanna! Blessed be He who cometh in the name of the Lord. Amen ―Rev. Samuel Osgood, 1862, Prayers Ancient and Modern, p.360
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