We are all aware of how any distinctively Christian celebration of Christmas can so easily be lost in “frosty the snowman,” “Jack Frost nipping at your nose,” “Santa Claus finding out who’s naughty and nice,” “chestnuts roasting on an open fire,” and the list goes on and on. What is hard to find is any mention of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ. This is why I love John’s Christmas story. Many people think that the Christmas account is only found in Matthew and Luke with all the traditional band of characters including shepherds, sheep, angels, Joseph, Mary, an innkeeper, King Herod and, later, the magi from the East, etc… John’s gospel approaches the story differently. We find in John no mention of angels or shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. We do not find in John any reference to innkeepers, starry nights, a travel weary young family, or night time visions. In John there are no magi looking at the stars, or census’ being taken of the Roman world. In John we only have the center character in the entire story: “The Word became flesh dwelt among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Thank you, John. Christmas is about God stepping into human history, clothing himself in our frail humanity to rescue us from sin and death. Let’s remember that this holy season: God became a man – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; this is the Christmas story according to the Gospel of John.