Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Christmas Day
John 1:1-14
Bror Erickson

[1:1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
[6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. [8] He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
[9] The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. [11] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [12] But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. [13] who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
[14] And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14 (ESV)

And the word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word, the Word that was with God, and the Word that was God, through whom all things were made, who was in the very beginning with God, that Word, became flesh and dwelt among us. In other words God, because the word was both with God, and was God, being from the beginning with God, therefore God became flesh, because the Word became flesh. That very same word which God spoke to create the world, (And God said “let there be light and there was light, became flesh the flesh he created. Actually our flesh is the one thing he did not create from mere speaking.’ I find the creation story, or rather HIStory, absolutely phenomenal. Light created before the sun, moon and stars, light actually being independent of the Sun. Time too being independent of light. We think of a day as being marked by the sun, but not so. It is absolutely phenomenal to me, God creating with nothing but his word, and then from the ground that he creates he takes and creates man special as it were. He takes his time, forms us from dust, molds us, like a sculptor working in clay. God being creative takes care and time, and joy in the creation of man, as if though he created man and ultimately woman, last, he had created the whole world to house us, to be a showcase for us. The rest of creation he spoke into being, and it was good, and perfect. The ox, the lamb, the eagle, lion, and chimpanzee he spoke into creation. And then there was man. God beside a river bank, pulling out clay, wet and silky smooth, forming, carving sculpting, and when all was done, he doesn’t speak, but puts his lips to ours, and breaths life into us. Embedding in us, the crown of his creation, in charge of the animals and caretakers of his garden with the same creative spirit with which he created us. And all was good. Until our primeval parents used that creative spirit, that free will to go against God, to sin, and in sinning corrupted the creative spirit, and shackled it to death. Now we are no longer free, not in the same way. Oh we still have a shadow of that creative free spirit in us. It expresses itself in the garden, in Michelangelo’s David, clumps of glue and glitter on a Christmas ornament. It expresses itself at work, and at home in love for husband and wife, and family. But what we have is a mere shadow of what was once given, for what we have now is not spirit, but shadow, a mere imprint of what left. It is not free it is bound to death, as it seems is everything we touch.
No it isn’t just us, we sinned, our primeval parents sinned, but all of creation suffers with us. It is all bound to death and decay. It is all consumed by sin. And that is easy enough to see. We see the shadow of the creative spirit of man where ever man has dwelt, from cave drawings in France, to petroglyphs in Nine Mile Canyon, the pyramids in Egypt and the ancient Mayan empire, to the Skyscrapers of New York, Chicago, and Dubai, Babylonian towers of modern society vainly proclaiming the glory of man, to come crashing down by the death shackled will of man in a declaration of war, the other universal mark of man on earth. No our wills are not free they are bound to death. Death and sin. Same thing. Death the result of sin. Where you see death you see sin, just as where you see a tree swaying in a blizzard you see wind. And our flesh is doomed to die.
But then the word became flesh, God became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only begotten son of the Father, full of grace and truth. And that is what we celebrate today, the redemption of our flesh in the incarnation, the enmeatment of God. Enmeatment. That is what incarnation means: to take on meat, to take on flesh. God, the only begotten Son of the Father, took on our flesh, our meat. Once he breathed life into clay, now life absorbed itself into flesh in the Son of God Jesus Christ. And that is what we celebrate today, God becoming flesh, to save flesh from sin and death, to restore our flesh, to restore man to his former primeval glory that relished in the creative spirit of life with which it was endowed. Because God so loved us his creation, that he sent his only begotten son.
I need to talk about that for a minute. Excuse me. But I find it shameful and without excuse that this has been dropped from so many Bible translations when it is as plain as day in the Greek. John talks not of the only son from the Father, but the only Begotten Son of the Father, Monogeneus, (Pardon my transliteration) Mono meaning only, geneus meaning begotten. It was this only begotten son that he gave to the world because of his love. Begotten, meaning originating from him, being of him. It is a word that is used to mean of men for what they do in procreating. I begat my son John. Men beget men. Rabbits beget rabbits. Horses beget horses. God begets God. The Word is the Only begotten Son of God, that is God the Father begat God the Son. How? It doesn’t tell us. The Bible only tells us that the word was begotten of God, that is the word was, is and always will be God. And our finite minds are never going to comprehend the how and the intricacies of the infinite God, and our attempts to do so are rarely more than expressions of our death shackled wills lashing out against a God we hate, and despise because for all our efforts and apple eating, for all our knowledge of good and evil, we can’t be like him, eternal full of grace and truth as His only begotten Son mad flesh for us men and our salvation is. And yet full of Grace and Truth, full of the glory of God, the word made flesh was not, and will not be accepted by the world.
The world hates God, the world is under the spell of Satan, hexed with sin, doomed to die, so it hates God who is life, and the source of life. It suffers from sin. But because God became flesh, was made man for us men and our salvation, being conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary was made man for us men and our Salvation, so we have been given the right to become Children of God, being born not of blood nor the will of the flesh, but of God. Born again of water and the spirit, buried in baptism into his death, and given new life in His resurrection. And so, because of the love of God, and the only begotten Son of God, who is God of God, light of light, very God of very God, begotten not made, who became one of us, we too have become children of God, adopted not begotten. We have become children of God, adopted, and born of water and the spirit, once again given life, with the breath of God, His Spirit in the water. All because on this day a Virgin gave birth to God.
Now may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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