In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God . . .
All things were made through him,
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life,
and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it . . .
The true light, which gives light to everyone,
was coming into the world.
He was in the world, yet the world did not know him.
He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God,
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man,
but of God.

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 . . .
For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace . . .
No one has ever seen God;
the only God, who is at the Father’s side,
he has made him known (John 1:1-5,9-14,16,18).

 “The Word”—who was with God in the beginning, through whom everything was created, and who was God—became flesh and lived among us.  Ponder that Scripture above.  Think deeply about the statement I made to briefly summarize that Scripture.  Remember the newborns you’ve seen—or even held—in a happy hospital room.  Consider:  the Word who was with God, through whom God created all things, who was God, came to us like THAT.

No one captures the mystery and meaning of that wonder better than Max Lucado in “Mary’s Prayer” (from his book God Came Near.)Read it reflectively with me.  Stand in awe of the wonder.  Bow your knee at the manger.  And have a Christmas filled with joy and peace and hope and grace and truth and love . . .

God.  O infant-God. Heaven’s fairest child.  Conceived by the union of divine grace with our disgrace.  Sleep well.  Sleep well.  Bask in the coolness of this night bright with diamonds.  Sleep well, for the heat of anger simmers nearby.  Enjoy the silence of the crib, for the noise of confusion rumbles in your future.  Savor the sweet safety of my arms, for a day is soon coming when I cannot protect you.

Rest well, tiny hands.  For though you belong to a king, you will touch no satin, own no gold.  You will grasp no pen, guide no brush.  No, your tiny hands are reserved for works more precious:  to touch a leper’s open wound, to wipe a widow’s weary tear, to claw the ground of Gethsemane.

Your hands, so tiny, so tender, so white—clutched tonight in an infant’s fist.  They aren’t destined to hold a scepter nor wave from a palace balcony.  They are reserved instead for a Roman spike that will staple them to a Roman cross.

Sleep deeply, tiny eyes.  Sleep while you can.  For soon the blurriness will clear and you will see the mess we have made of your world.  You will see our nakedness, for we cannot hide.  You will see our selfishness, for we cannot give.  You will see our pain, for we cannot heal.  O eyes that will see hell’s darkest pit and witness her ugly prince . . . sleep, please sleep; sleep while you can.

Lay still, tiny mouth.  Lay still mouth from which eternity will speak.  Tiny tongue that will soon summon the dead, that will define grace, that will silence our foolishness.  Rosebud lips—upon which ride a starborn kiss of forgiveness to those who believe you, and of death to those who deny you—lay still.

And tiny feet cupped in the palm of my hand, rest.  For many difficult steps lie ahead for you.  Do you taste the dust of the trails you will travel?  Do you feel the cold sea water upon which you will walk?  Do you wrench at the invasion of the nail you will bear?   Do you fear the steep descent down the spiral staircase into Satan’s domain?  Rest, tiny feet.  Rest today so that tomorrow you might walk with power.  Rest.  For millions will follow in your steps.

And little heart . . . holy heart . . . pumping the blood of life through the universe:  How many times will we break you?  You’ll be torn by the thorns of our accusations.  You’ll be ravaged by the cancer of our sin.  You’ll be crushed under the weight of your own sorrow.  And you’ll be pierced by the spear of our rejection.

Yet in that piercing, in that ultimate ripping of muscle and membrane, in that final rush of blood and water, you will find rest.  Your hands will be freed, your eyes will see justice, your lips will smile, and your feet will carry you home.

And there you’ll rest again—this time in the embrace of your Father.


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