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 gives light to 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.
Grace, mercy, peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
The opening to John’s Gospel tells us the nativity story as a cosmic battle. John doesn’t tell us about Joseph or Mary. He doesn’t mention the shepherds and angels. He doesn’t even set the scene in Bethlehem. Instead, John tells us, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
It could have stayed that way, but because of our sin, because of our lies, because we decided to reject God in the Garden of Eden, it didn’t. Instead, the eternal, holy Word which was God, this Word became Flesh and dwelt among us.
You often see this verse over a picture of the nativity with animals, shepherds, angels, and Mary and Joseph all gathering around the Word made flesh, the divine Infant, lying in the manger. And that is fitting. But that is not the picture that John as gives it.
John’s view of the birth of Christ is holistic. John views the nativity in the perspective of the whole creation through all eternity. John says that the world which was created through this eternal Word made Flesh, did not recognize Him when He arrived. The Word made flesh came to His own, but His own did not receive Him.
God came to us just as He came to Adam and Eve in the Garden. And we reacted the same as they did when they hid themselves, shaking in fear because of their sin. They ran from God because they were under the delusion that He might not be good just as we did. But because they were His, God pursued them and restored them just as He did for us.
Even though we did not know Him, even though we did not receive Him, God remained merciful, gracious, faithful, and steadfast toward us.
Jesus, the Word made Flesh, came to His own. He endured our hatred and murder. He did not flinch from enduring the cross. He did this because you are His own and He was not willing to give you up.
To all who do receive Him, who believe in His Name – the name Jesus which means “Yahweh saves” – to them He gave the right to become children of God.
And so, dear Harper, today on the day of your Baptism, through the washing of water with the Word, you became a child of God. Harper, you became a child of God because He became a child of a woman. Harper, Jesus, your God and Savior, became Flesh and dwelt among us so that you and all your brothers and sisters in Christ could be His own, dear children.
Harper, you were born into the family of God today – born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
Harper, and all you saints here today, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us becoming our Life, our Light, and our Salvation. He has washed you clean. He has declared you forgiven. Your God has done all of this because He would not let you go.
You are His. He created you for Himself. And He has made you His child.
The Word became Flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth. And here, coming to us once again, is that same Word full of grace and truth. He comes now, not in a manger, but in bread and wine. He comes to you, His children, to feed you, to nourish you, to forgive you.
Rejoice! The Word became flesh. He has made you His child. The eternal God is among you to save you, forgive you, and make you His own today and for all eternity. Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.