In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:1-5, NIV
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ Matthew 2:1-2, NIV
Christmas is a festival like no other. Each year people everywhere anticipate it with great delight as a time of joy, peace, goodwill and giving, a time to celebrate and share special moments with special people and a time to honour the most distinctive event in history, God’s gift of His Son. Calendars were reset by this event and it continues to touch the lives of people throughout the world in different ways, believers and unbelievers alike.
Pope Paul VI described Christmas as “… the great encounter, the historical encounter, the decisive encounter, between God and mankind.” John explains the magnificence and mystery of this gift in describing who was born: God incarnate in Jesus, the living Word. What an awe-inspiring gift, God in human form and being, by its very nature magnanimous, timeless and excluding no-one.
John proclaims that Jesus, as the Word, has always existed with God. Through the Word God created all that is created. The life within the Word was and is the same light that Jesus personified on earth, shining into the life of mankind, the light that “the darkness has not overcome” (John 1:5), sounding the wonderful truth of eternal life.
It was the light of a star that led travellers from the East to the Light of Life lying in a manger in Bethlehem.
Enter the Magi. Their mission was an intriguing one for men who were astrologers; but they had come in response to an extraordinary star shining brightly in the night, signalling to them something of immense importance and beckoning them to an encounter with a newborn King.
The star led them to a place where “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14a)
Whether or not they fully understood it, the significance of John’s words defined the meaning of the Magi’s quest, and it continues to define ours today, whether or not we fully understand it: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” For are we not all, in some way, also on an epic journey of faith? We, like them, can say, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14b)
This Christmas may we see the light of Immanuel, God with us. As we bring ourselves to bow down and worship the One “who came from the Father, full of grace and truth”, may we know true fulfilment, joy and abundant life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I have an encounter with you that will illumine my understanding and enable me to bow before you in worship with a heart overflowing with love. Amen.