Christmas 1, Year C

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 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.

In the 1st century, every faithful Jewish person  

was waiting for the Messiah.  

Most of Jesus’ early followers were Jewish people. 

Many wondered if Jesus was the Messiah. 

Others wondered if John the Baptizer was the Messiah. 

Most everyone back then agreed that the true Messiah  had to meet several criteria i, including bringing world peace. ii 

Since, in the end, as far as the Jews could see, 

Jesus didn’t bring world peace, he couldn’t be the Messiah. 

Both today and 2100 years ago,  

many faithful Jews believed that the Messiah, will come.  Many, however, had lost patience even in Jesus’ day. iii The Jewish leaders mostly saw Jesus as a nuisance iv, If not a serious troublemaker.  

They weren’t much interested in Isaiah’s messianic vision,  of the wolf lying down with the lamb. v 

They just wanted Jesus out of the way.

 

Many faithful Christians are still waiting for the Messiah to return. Meanwhile, many faithful Jews are waiting 

for The Messiah’s first arrival!  

Many faithful Jews and Christians admit that the Messiah tarries,  But they both believe, with all their heart, that he will come.vi In a faithful person’s life, patience is a huge virtue! 

There’s an old story about a Russian Jew, 

who was paid a single ruble each month,  

to stand at the outskirts of town.  

His job was to be the first person to greet the Messiah. 

One friend said to Jim, “But, geez, the pay is so low.”  And the man replied: “Yes. But, the job is permanent.” 

Jesus can be, and is, all things to all people.  

Mark introduces Jesus as an adult.  

Matthew and Luke begin with Jesus’ conception.  

But John, goes all the way back to the beginning of time.  

Before anything else was created, John wrote, Jesus was.  Without Jesus, “not one thing came into being”. vii 

For John, and for us, Jesus is “one … being with” God. To see Jesus is to see God, John wrote.

 

To know Jesus is to know God. viii 

“and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. ix And because the Word became flesh, 2100 years ago, we are gathered here tonight.  

Jesus was and is God, but he was and is, also, us. He walked, and talked. He ate and drank.  

He laughed and he wept.  

Jesus, wasn’t a regular guy,  

but he was just as human as the rest of us.  

Because Jesus was and is truly God, and is also truly a person,  We can all be confident in knowing that he understands… 

Jesus understands what it feels like to be awakened, by a strange noise, or to get a love letter from the IRS. He understands what it feels like to lose a loved one,  And to fear both death and life. 

He understands what it’s like to be paralyzed with pain, and yet to wonder what comes next, 

and to hope we get another day.  

Jesus is one of us. We are called, to him and  

in Holy Communion, we are one with him.  

We are never alone.

 

This Christmas please do say a prayer of Thanksgiving for all that baby Jesus has done, and will do for us.  

In the crazy days, as Omicron steps up the pace, and we’re all reminded that life can be as comfortless as a leaking roof, let’s remember that our Lord was born  

into this mixed-up world … 

he lived here, he loved here.  

He’s been here, and he’s with us right now.  

This Christmas let’s remember that Jesus was here, and is here,  and that we are never alone. 

AMEN

 

ia descendant of King David, have sovereignty over the land of Israel, would gather the Jews  there from the four corners of the earth, restore them to full observance of Torah law and bring  peace to the whole world. Many faithful Jews conclude that, since Jesus did not bring peace to  the World, he could not be the Messiah. See, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-messiah 

ii Of course they had no modern concept of “the world” as the largish globe, that we know it is.  iii Many … but not all! 

iv Maybe Jesus could have met the fine points of Jewish Messiahship, had he lived long enough.  The Hebrew’s later attempts to bring peace by violent revolution were violently crushed by the  Romans, which led to the destruction of the 2nd Temple, which was completed in Jesus’ lifetime.  

vIsaiah 11:6. Notably, Maimonides believed that Isaiah’s was speaking in metaphors, likening the enemies of the Jews to the wolf, who would no longer oppress them. A century later,  Nachmanides rejected Maimonides’s claim and asserted that Isaiah meant precisely what he said:  that in the messianic age wild animals will become domesticated. But cf, the humorist, Woody  Allen cautioned that “… the lamb and the wolf shall lie down together, but the lamb won’t get  any sleep.” See, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-messiah 

vi The “belief in a messiah and a messianic age is so deeply rooted in Jewish tradition that a  statement concerning the Messiah became the most famous of Maimonides’s Thirteen Principles  of Faith: “And Ma’amin, I believe with a full heart in the coming of the Messiah, and even  though he may tarry, I will wait for him on any day that he may come.” In the concentration  camps, it is reported that many Jews sang the Ani Ma’amin while walking to the gas chambers.  See, supra, https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-messiah 

vii John 1:3 

viii NB, when doubting Thomas finally accepted that Jesus was alive, he exclaimed, “My Lord  and my God!” (John 20:28). 

ix John 1:14

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