December 25, 2023
John 1: 1-18
I have a heavy heart this Christmas. It seems that death is all around me, everywhere I turn. Remembrances of relatives and friends dying during December and most dramatically, the faces of Palestinian, Jewish and Ukrainian children that fill our news stories these days. It’s not so different from any other year, because violence and suffering are always present it seems.
And yet, our belief in the Incarnation is the source of our hope. The church has four masses for Christmas day, each with different readings and perspectives on the events of this pivotal moment in our human history. The letter to the Hebrews reminds us simply that God speaks! Isaiah says that the message is glad tidings, peace, good news, restoration and comfort. Isaiah ends by saying all the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of God. Yes, the message is for all of us.
As I read the words of John’s gospel, I can almost picture him bursting for joy in his experience of God’s deep indwelling, in the midst of all of us. Yes, the Word becomes flesh. And all comes to be through the Word. It is the great gift of Life. In the midst of John’s description of the intimate relationship between God and all of creation, John adds a dose of reality – “but the world did not know Him and his own did not accept Him.” This does not deter the Word, for John reminds us that the Word made His dwelling among us. And so, if the Word, God, Jesus, can dwell in the midst of the messiness in life, why can’t we? We know what we must do. We, who read and contemplate the Word, know what is expected of us. And so as another liturgical year retells the sacred stories of incarnation, resurrection and the presence of the Holy Spirit, let us remember these words of John…”from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace upon grace” – to do what gives Life.
John 1: 1-18
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.
But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.'”
From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.
The Gospel of the Lord
Meet Sister Barbara Barry, SNDdeN