Christ Is Here
John 1: 1-14
“In the beginning was the Word… And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”
We end Advent in the place we began. On day one we looked into an empty cradle and filled it with our hopes and prayers. Now Christ is born, but—at least for us who live thousands of years later—the cradle is empty again. And that is great good news. Christ will not be confined to a single infant boy. His life, death and resurrection will crown him the Lord of all life, past present and to come.
Unlike Luke’s particular Christmas story—the baby, the manger, the mother—John’s beginning story proclaims that Christ had no birth. “He was in the beginning with God.” When the eternal Christ took flesh, Jesus was born, yes, but the Christly crowning of Jesus only put cheeks and dimples and a wisp of hair on the eternal Word. This is what God looks like in flesh and bone. And the image you see here is the divine pattern you can see everywhere—in every created thing: spirit and matter as One. Separateness united; alienation overcome.
If all we have at Christmas is a baby adoration, we have missed the message. Which is something like—Look once and you see a babe in the manger, look twice and you see him everywhere. Jesus crawled out of that cradle, walked this earth, and told us we were all united to God in his body—and not just us, but the whole creation. Now it is, in St. Patrick’s song:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
That miracle of presence is possible because the cradle is empty.
Merry Christmas indeed.
Special thanks to my daughter, Maggy Keet, for the each day’s artwork.
And to Pam, my faithful editor, who also collaborated on the artwork.