Christmas 2 C 2021 The Big Picture
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Well, Christmas is almost over. Today is the eighth day of Christmas. And according to the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” on the eight day of Christmas my true love gave to me “Eight Maids-a-Milking.”
As I thought about this this past week, I wondered why in the world my true love gave to me “Eight maids-a-milking.” And so, I googled it and found out that fresh milk would have been a wonderful gift since milk products spoiled easily back then without refrigeration.
In the 15th and 16th centuries the ability to provide fresh milk and fresh milk products at a Christmas party or meal would have indeed been special. A simple product that we take for granted was in short supply back when this song was written.
Therefore, it is no wonder that a true love would spare no expense and give his or her significant other fresh milk, which was so deeply cherished.
In our Gospel text today, we just heard the Christmas story that we deeply cherish. No matter how old or young one is, the Christmas story is special. Luke’s account, the account that we heard on Christmas Eve, is probably the most familiar version of the nativity event. But the Gospel of John account also bears witness to the origin of the Christ Child.
I think you would agree with me when I say that the two Christmas stories that we have recorded for us in the Bible are different. If a Hollywood director were to make a movie of each version, the opening movements would head off in different directions.
In Luke’s version, the camera would start from a long distance away and then gradually zoom in closer and closer. The opening act might begin with a picture of Caesar in Rome and then move to the outskirts of Bethlehem.
The camera would then focus on the manger, and then on Joseph trying to make Mary comfortable. Finally, the camera would focus on Jesus, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Luke’s version is earthly and real. Luke’s version is something that we can picture in our mind. But John’s version, John’s version is different. John’s Christmas story is more like the beginning of Star Wars where the vastness of time and space is displayed before us, and the introduction to the movie scrolls in front of the viewer. While the Gospel of Luke zooms in, the Gospel of John zooms out.
John’s Gospel starts at the beginning. And I like stories that start at the beginning. There is nothing worse than walking in on a movie five or ten minutes late and missing the introduction and opening scene.
Our text today starts on page one of the Bible and states “In the beginning.” You cannot get any earlier than that. For John, Christ’s Nativity is cosmic in scope. Jesus and the beginning are connected.
Christ was there at the beginning. Jesus was the Word that set all things into motion. Jesus was/is the Divine Word, he is the Divine Logos.
John the Baptist understood this so well when he stated: “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because He was before me.” And John’s Gospel understands this as well. And that is why I say that the Gospel of John provides us with “The Big Picture.”
John wants us to understand the full meaning of Christ’s birth, namely that He was born for us and for our salvation. And that this baby has been a part of God’s plan for us since the very beginning. And that at God’s appointed time, in a stable in Bethlehem, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and humanity caught a glimpse of God’s plan for us.
Yes, ever since the beginning of time, our salvation has been woven into the genesis of the Word made flesh. His destiny is our destiny. And it is full of grace and truth. And from His fullness we all have received grace upon grace.
Let us pray: Almighty God, you have filled us with the new light of the Word who became flesh and lived among us. Let the light of our faith shine in all that we do; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever. Amen.