From the Pastor's desk

 

What can one possibly say about a 2000 year old story that hasn’t already been said? What might one write concerning this old story that might hook the reader, encouraging them to read on? These are a few of the questions I struggled with as I prepared my Christmas newsletter article.

I came to realize, there’s really nothing new that I could say about the Christmas story, nothing that hasn’t already been said. My thoughts turned to the Christmas story as it comes to us from the gospel of John. No shepherds, no angels, no star in John’s Christmas story. Instead, John takes us back to the story of creation:

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1)

Dr. Karoline Lewis, Associate Professor of Biblical Preaching at Luther Seminary, points to the threefold claim of this short verse.  She writes, “The verse reveals where Jesus came from, Jesus’ relationship with God and his identity as God.”1

The gospel writer John echoes Genesis 1:1, making it clear that Jesus is the Word that was with God in the beginning. That Jesus is one with the Father. That Jesus is the Word of God that became human flesh. That Jesus came to bring life and light to all people.

John’s Christmas story may not be “breaking news” but it’s certainly not “fake news.” John’s gospel is astonishing good news, news of God’s steadfast love for all people. Nothing I could write could possibly top that.

Scholars relate to the first eighteen verses of John’s gospel as the prologue, these eighteen verses set the theme of John’s gospel. Jesus is the light in the darkness, he is Word made flesh. Dr. Lewis goes on to point out that after the prologue, Jesus as the “Word” will not be used again in the gospel because God’s word has become human flesh.1

The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates John 1:14 as “And the Word became Flesh and lived among us” but the Greek word for “lived” (skenoo) might also translate as “tented among us,” “dwelt among us,” or “took up residence among us.” Although not exactly true to the Greek, Eugene Peterson in his translation The Message, paints a clear picture:  God “moved into the neighborhood.” No matter the translation, the theme is crystal clear… Word became flesh wasn’t a onetime event.

John’s gospel is a continuing story, a story that is new daily. It’s the story of God who walks with us at Christmas time; it’s the story of God who walks with us all of the time. The gospel of John isn’t old and dated news. It’s new every single day.

Christmas peace and blessings,

Pastor Tom Hillertz

 

1John Fortress Biblical Preaching Commentaries, Karoline M. Lewis, pgs. 13-14