Christmas Greetings from Leslie D. Callahan.
Of the Christmas lessons, the one from John 1:1-14 shows us Jesus Christ at his most transcendent and most vulnerable. The story begins not with Nazareth and the Annunciation or with Bethlehem and the birth of Christ, but in eternity where Word of God existed in the beginning, making the world that we all occupy. The Word was with God and the Word was God. Without the Word nothing was made. But the Word did not remain remote, over creation and apart from it. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. In Jesus Christ, God became concrete.
In becoming so much a part of creation, Christ must have known that his identity could be misunderstood and misappropriated. God in Christ must have known that there would be some who could not receive the divine because of the particularities of the human flesh – his gender, his ethnicity, his age, his marital status, his class, his religious affiliation. Still others would deny that Christ was a real human at all because of the divine nature expressed in him. And yet, knowing that his own would not receive him, and others would never see him, still the Word of God became flesh – touchable, viewable, sensitive, and mortal flesh – and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. God became like one of us.
In this holy season, as we celebrate the arrival of the One whom we did not expect, in a form we almost did not recognize, we who have beheld his glory and received the power to become the children of God must likewise prepare ourselves to take risks and become vulnerable. No, everyone will not receive us. Yes, we too will be misunderstood, our words misappropriated, and our identities rejected. Being accessible and touchable opens us up to the possibility of being injured or even killed. But we are comforted in the knowledge that God through Jesus Christ knows exactly what we feel. Wherever we go in his name, he goes with us and goes before us. Christ has been there first