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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he 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 into being through him; yet the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
What did you get for Christmas? … What did you give your [spouse, child, parent, boss] for Christmas? These seemingly simple questions can spiral into a dangerous game of gifting one-upmanship. The recipient of a smartwatch is outdone by the recipient of a new car. The parents who gave their child a new bike are outdone by the parents whose child wanted donations to charity, in lieu of gifts. There is nothing wrong with giving or receiving smartwatches, cars, bikes, charitable donations, or any gifts, for that matter. The trouble is that we fail to recognize that today we have received the most precious gift of all – the gift of the Incarnation.
While the Gospels of Luke and Matthew recount the traditional infancy narrative, John’s Gospel proclaims the Incarnation. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Through the Incarnation, God saves us and makes us his children, showering us with “grace upon grace.” There is nothing in this world that tops that.
Today, engage your heart and mind in a meditation on the Incarnation, and give thanks to God for this extraordinary gift.
—Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.
When not only the glimmer of candles, the joy of children, and the fragrance of the Christmas tree
but the heart itself answers God’s childlike word of love with a gracious yes,
then Christmas really takes place, not only in mood, but in the most unalloyed reality.
For this word of the heart is then truly produced by God’s holy grace;
God’s word is then born in our heart, too.
God himself then moves into our heart,
just as he moved into the world in Bethlehem,
just as truly and really, and yet even more intimately.
When the heart itself answers, we really open its gates high and wide,
and God comes and takes possession of our hearts,
just as in the first Christmas he came and took possession of the world.
—Karl Rahner, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!