Jesus Made His Home Among Us (Christmas Day)
"Jesus Made His Home Among Us"
Christmas Day (RCL III)
John 1:1-14 (CEB)
1 In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being 4 through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. 6 A man named John was sent from God. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light, so that through him everyone would believe in the light. 8 He himself wasn’t the light, but his mission was to testify concerning the light. 9 The true light that shines on all people was coming into the world. 10 The light was in the world, and the world came into being through the light, but the world didn’t recognize the light. 11 The light came to his own people, and his own people didn’t welcome him. 12 But those who did welcome him, those who believed in his name, he authorized to become God’s children, 13 born not from blood nor from human desire or passion, but born from God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his glory, glory like that of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” That’s how the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible translates John 1:14. It’s the version in your insert. And that’s a perfectly good translation. The Word lived here. But I want to share a different version because I think it captures something beautiful about just how special the Incarnation is, just how special Christmas is.
In the Common English Bible (CEB), John 1:14 says: “The Word became flesh and made his home among us.” Did you hear that? God doesn’t just want to live here for a little bit. God isn’t just setting up a place to stay. God is building a home. Through Jesus, God established a permanent residence on earth. God has joined heaven to earth and earth to heaven by coming and making a home. Thank God Almighty that The Word became flesh and made a home among us.
The Divine Word, the Second Person of the Trinity, chose to leave behind the privileges of heaven, the power afforded to the One True God, and make his home among us. This Almighty Word of God took the form of a little baby, born to poor parents in the backwater, backwoods town of Bethlehem. He made a home among these unique people called Israel, the Jews, a people who have been chosen by God but almost always seem down on their luck. Israel was always a small country that was bullied by the global superpowers of its day. Israel had a weak to non-existent military. Israel was poor. Israel was overlooked and forgotten by the rich and powerful emperors who ran the world. But “The Word became flesh and made his home among us,” among them (1:14).
Then, this baby boy would grow up in Nazareth, a town that even other Jews thought nothing good could come from. This town was in the boonies, a rural village around the Sea of Galilee. He came from nobody parents. They said they were from the tribe of Judah, descended from King David, but so did almost every other Jew. David had tons of kids and nobody had Ancestry.com to check on this stuff. Plus, no prophet or king of Israel ever came from Nazareth. Jesus came up in the least expected and least respected place you could think of. But “The Word became flesh and made his home among us” (1:14).
As an adult, Jesus traveled around the countryside preaching Good News to the poor, the lost, the outcast, and the forgotten. He brought hope to the hopeless. His word was life, “and the life was the light for all people” (1:4). The world was and continues to be dark and shadowy. Evil pervades almost every walk of life. But Jesus, the Light of God’s Word, “shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light” (1:5). Just when we thought God had abandoned us, just when we felt like we had lost all hope, God chose to do something radical. “The Word became flesh and made his home among us” (1:14).
This Word of God, Jesus, would eventually be rejected by his own people, by those he came to save (1:11-12). The Word would suffer beatings, torture, incarceration, and shame. The Word would be condemned to death and executed on a cross. And for about three days, even his closest followers thought that the darkness had extinguished the light. But it turns out that this light was different from other kinds of light. This light could not be put out even by the worst of human sin and wretchedness, all our violence and hate, even our death.
This light and this love was stronger than death. God overcame the darkness, and on the third day, Jesus the Light of the World, God’s Word-become-Flesh, rose from the dead. He made his home among us and he was not moving out.
Our darkness is never darkness in God’s sight because Jesus is the true Light of the World who will not be overcome. ngs we need, when we face challenges that overwhelm us, we know that the Word “made his home among us” (1:14). And when we humble ourselves and realize that the world’s problems aren’t all out there, but that we contribute to them too, when we confess our own sin, when we recognize that our failings hurt ourselves and those around us, we know that the Word “made his home among us” (1:14). Jesus is strong enough to overcome the sin of the world and even my and your worst sins. Jesus loves us and forgives us no matter how dark things get.
Our darkness is never darkness in God’s sight, because Jesus is the true Light of the World who will not be overcome. “The Word became flesh and made his home among us” (1:14). Jesus’ home is here with us and he’s not leaving. Amen.