"God in Jesus came and lived in our neighborhood"
We come to the final time of preparation to celebrate Christmas, God in the flesh come among us. That's what we really celebrate. Onn Christmas Eve we tell the story of Jesus' birth from the Gospel of Luke, with the baby in the manger, Mary, Joseph, and Bethlehem, the angels and the shepherds. On the morning of Christmas day, we ponder what all this means. We read from the first chapter of St. John's Gospel, especially that wonderful verse, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."
God in Jesus came and lived in our neighborhood, as another version puts it. But more than a historical event in the past, Christmas says that God continues to abide with us, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, and in the flesh and blood of one another. That's the joy and the challenge of Christmas. How can we bring Christmas to the world? How can we be Christ this Christmas to a world that largely has no consciousness of his presence, but still sing the songs and celebrates the feast?
That is our prayer this Christmas, especially as we greet wayfarers who come to this place seeking some spiritual comfort, or joy, or something they can’t even put their finger on. Let this community remember the words of our namesake, John the Evangelist, and be evangelists with our words and acts of love and welcome. Jesus has no other body in this world. We make him flesh.
A blessed Christmas to all of you. We remember all the friends of St. John's on Christmas at the Lord’s Table. May you greet the child of Bethlehem, the Word made Flesh this Christmas, and let him shine through you.