Formations 12.26.2021: The Word Became Flesh

John 1:1-18

Our favorite Christmas Bible stories usually involve angels, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, a stable behind an inn, animals, a tiny baby in a feeding trough, and wise men visiting from afar. This passage in the Gospel of John has none of those, and yet it is probably the most important Christmas story of all.

John doesn’t share the events surrounding Jesus’ birth; Matthew and Luke do that just fine. He doesn’t talk about prophecy the way Mark does. John’s purpose is to proclaim the glory of Jesus Christ, the Word of God made into a human being, who has always been with God and actually is God (vv. 1-3). John is trying to put words to the unspeakable. He’s proclaiming the truth of what seems nonsensical, ridiculous, impossible.

When we read John 1, we get a glimpse of the magnitude of God’s great gift to humanity: the gift of Godself in the person of Jesus.

You probably opened some gifts yesterday. I know I did. It’s fun to get things, to open surprises. But it’s even more fun to give something to someone else, to watch their joy as they pull away the wrapping paper and discover a gift you picked just for them.

Imagine how God felt when humanity opened the gift of Godself in the Son. Instead of joy and laughter, the gift was met with jealousy and fear. Instead of embracing and welcoming the gift of Jesus, many people rejected and repelled him. But, unlike a package we open on Christmas Day that soon becomes just another item taking up space in our homes, Jesus is a gift that never stops giving. John says he gives us the “power to become children of God” (v. 12) and offers us “grace upon grace” (v. 16).

I can’t fathom a greater generosity than to give of oneself the way God did by sending Jesus to walk among us. May we delight over God’s gift. May our faces light up and joy fill our hearts when we ponder the magnitude of what God has done in Jesus Christ. May we open our lives to continually receive the gift of Jesus, who never stops giving.

Discussion

• What has been your favorite gift this holiday season—either to receive or to give?
• How did you feel when someone opened a gift you picked for them?
• Why do you think John skipped the events of Jesus’ birth and focused instead on the grandeur of God’s gift—the Word becoming flesh and living among us?
• How have you received God’s gift of Jesus—with joy and gratitude or with suspicion and doubt?
• How can you rekindle your delight in Jesus and share the gift of him with others in the coming year?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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