Christmas Day – "He Became One Of Us" – John 1:1-14 – 12/25/13

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“The Word became Flesh.”

This is what Christmas is all about. Take away the angels, the shepherds, the manger and the little town of Bethlehem and the star overhead, and you still have all that you need for a complete Christmas celebration.

“The Word became Flesh.”
This is what Christmas is all about.

We have been under a lot of pressure over the last several weeks. There’s a lot that must be done to get ready for Christmas. We all know the drill. There are those agonizing decisions about what to get family members and friends. Gifts must be sure to please, or at least, sure not to disappoint. They must communicate the fact that you have really been thinking about them, and that you really, really care. Cards must be addressed and mailed, taking care not to miss anyone who sent you a card last year but scratching those from your list who did not. A Christmas tree must be set up and decorated and the inside and outside of the house must give the clear idea that you are definitely “in the Christmas spirit.” Arrangements for traveling in order to be with family must be made. And if there are little children involved, the hassle factor increases exponentially. All of this, and we still haven’t mentioned Christmas cookies, Christmas parties and the LWML Craft Fair.

But even if you take away all of this, (anyone tempted to try it?), you’d still have all that you need for a complete Christmas celebration.

“The Word became Flesh.”
This is what Christmas is all about.

“The Word became Flesh.”
God entered into His own creation as one of the creatures that He made with His own two hands out of the dust of the earth and He breathed His life-giving breath into, and the man became a ‘living being.’ The fashioning of the creature’s body is what the dust of the earth is all about. The ‘breath’ that is breathed into the body is the “ruach elohim.” “Ruach” can mean either, “breath,” or “wind” or “spirit.”

The “breath of God” and the physical body of Jesus come together in the virgin Mary by the power of God. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…” (Luke 1:35). And with that, He became one of us.

When a man and woman are married, they each become a part of another family than their own. At the wedding, the mother-in-law says, ‘you’re one of us now.’ ‘You’re part of the family.’

Which means that you’ve gone from being an ‘outsider’ to being an ‘insider.’ And now, ‘for better or for worse,’ you participate in the joys and our sorrows, the good times and the bad times, the trials and tribulations, in a way that those who are ‘not one us’ are not invited to do. What’s yours is now theirs and what’s theirs is now yours.

“The Word became Flesh.”
He’s “one of us” now. ‘Part of the family.’ An insider. He knows us and He lives with us. He shares in our life intimately, in a way that those who are not one of us are not able to do.

“The Word became Flesh.”
He didn’t have to. He wasn’t forced into it.

That needs to be said. Because as we all know, this is a pretty strange family to be a part of. Think of your weirdest and most embarrassing relative and multiply that by 70 x 7 and that’s how weird this family is.

Think about the constant fighting and arguing and gossiping and back-biting and cheating and blaming each other that we do. “The woman, whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” (Gen.3:11). That’s a classic.

Think about the suffering and the sorrow and the grief that we inflict on each other. “And Cain rose up against His brother Abel and killed him.” (Gen.48).

Think about all the creative ways that we have invented for not doing what we’re supposed to do. If you took all of the dysfunction in every family in the world and put it all together into one family, that’s how dysfunctional this family is.

This is why, when we say, “He became one of us,” “He became part of the family,’ you really do have to clarify it by adding, “He didn’t have to. He wasn’t forced into it.”

As strange as it sounds, He wanted to become ‘one of us.’ He wanted to become a ‘part of the family.’

Not because He wanted to become like us. Really, why would He want to become like us? He’s the Son of God. He’s got it made. He’s got a great life and wants for nothing. Within His family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit there is perfect always perfect conversation and companionship. There’s no competition or jealousy between the Son and the Spirit or the Spirit and the Father or the Father and the Son.

“And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another; but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things… the Trinity in Unity and the Unity in Trinity is to be worshipped.” (Athanasian Creed) He already has the perfect family.

He did not became ‘one of us,’ ‘part of our family’ because He wanted to become like us. He became ‘one of us’ because He wants us to become like Him. He wants to make us a part of His family. He wants to say to the Father and the Spirit, “he’s one of us now,” “she’s one of us now,” “they’re a part of the family.” No longer ‘outsiders’ but ‘Insiders.’ Invited to experience the life of the Triune God in all its joy and peace and life – as only a member of the family can.

“The Word became Flesh.”

He didn’t have to. It wasn’t necessary for Him, that He had to do it. But it was necessary for us, that He do it.

Think about it. If “the Word DID NOT become flesh,” where would we be? We would have completely destroyed each other by now. And the whole creation would have degenerated into a complete garbage dump by now.

The only thing keeping us alive from second to second and day to day and year to year is that He became “one of us.” He became a “part of the family.” “He upholds the universe by the word of His power.” (Hebrews 1:3). Not from some distant galaxy, far, far away in a place called ‘heaven,’ but here, among us, with us, as an insider.

As fragile and fleeting as it may be, the only reason that there is any joy and peace and kindness and life, and mercy and pity among us at all is because He is ‘part of the family.’

“The Word became Flesh.”

It’s His love for us that compelled Him to do it. He loves us. He loves you. He loves me. He loves the whole screwed up family. Idolatrous, murdering, cheating, lying, jealous, backbiting, selfish family that we are. It’s crazy, I know, but He loves us.

He loves us not because of the way we are. Frankly, He hates the way that we are. He hates the way that we treat one another.

He loves us not because of the way we are, but because of the way we were; in the beginning; when things were different; when we were different.

If you can believe this, there actually was a time when His pure and perfect love circulated freely from the Father through the Son, pumped along by the Spirit into the family of man. And His pure and perfect love flowed freely through every member of the family, from one to another. And together, as one family of mankind, His love flowed right back to Him. Pumped out of us by the same Holy Spirit that pumped His love into us.

If you can believe this, there was time when life was good. It was ‘very good.’ And if you can believe this, the time is coming when it will all be ‘very good’ again. In fact, it doesn’t depend on whether or not you “can believe it.” God is not willing to let His ‘very good’ become ‘very bad’ and leave it at that, and say, “well, I tried.”

He could have. And it wouldn’t have changed His life one bit. He’s God and God doesn’t change. He’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, with or without us.

It’s not like it’s His fault. It’s not like He has some ‘moral obligation’ to fix what’s been broken just because it’s His. Because, He’s not the one who broke it. He didn’t screw things up.

We did. We’re the ones who cut the cord and left the Father’s house because we desperately wanted to get out from under His authority over us. We didn’t want to be a part of this family of God anymore and with all its commandments and restrictions. We want to be “free.” And as soon as we exercised our ‘freedom’ to turn off that ‘Holy pump,’ we became slaves to the ‘unholy pump.’

“The Word became Flesh.”

He didn’t have to. But He loves us. And His love compelled Him to become ‘one of us.’ ‘Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven.”

He came close to us so that we may come close to Him. He joined Himself to us so that we may be joined to Him.

All of our sin transfused from us into Him. And all of His love transfused from the Father, through the Son, pumped along by the Holy Spirit into us; and from us to one another; and together as one, back to Him again.

“The Word became Flesh.”

He became ‘one of the family.’ What is His is ours and what is ours is his. In us is death. “In Him is life.” The death that is in Him is our death. The life that is in us is His life. And His life circulates through “all who receive Him, who believe in His name.” And to all who will receive Him, who believe in His name, “he gives the right to become children of God.” “You’re part of the family now.” “You’re one of us.”

Merry Christmas.

Amen.

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