Advent Reading: November 30
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
Our Advent meditations begin with the recognition that in the ancient pagan world, this gospel proclamation begins with a statement that the Greeks might misunderstand and therefore accept in the wrong way. The philosopher Heraclitus had used the term Logos in his speculative philosophy, and so when John starts out by saying something apparently inscrutable—the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God—the sentiment might have seemed suitably opaque to them. But John is doing something quite different. He is engaged in overthrowing the ancient wisdom, not compromising with it.
In v. 14, we will discover that the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. For the apostles, and for all faithful Christians since, the Incarnation means that ultimate Truth has a birthday, and a mom, and ten fingers, and a liver. This kind of thing was absolutely appalling to the ancient philosophical mind—foolishness to the Greeks, as Paul noted.
There are indications that this is where John is deliberately taking us, right from the start. He begins with the same language that starts the book of Genesis (v. 1). We are talking about a new creation here, not another ethereal world elsewhere. The Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was God. Lest there be a mistake, John repeats it. He was in the beginning with God (v. 2). And then the philosophical Greek encounters his first great difficulty. The earthiness of God’s Word is seen in the fact that He made every single thing, and not one created thing was made apart from Him (v. 3). Ultimate reality is not contaminated by matter, but rather rejoices over its origin, calling all of it good. Not only was this Word creative, but He was filled with life. He is no impersonal principle, and His life is the light of men (v. 4). He is the living God.
When this Spoken God, this Word, comes into the world, He shines in the darkness of this world. And as He does so, the darkness cannot comprehend what is going on. But fortunately, the darkness is not there to be persuaded, but rather to be banished by the arrival of the Light.
And so this is what we anticipate every Advent, and this is what we are privileged to see celebrated yet again. The Word was with God; the Word was God. The Word is with man; the Word is man.
—Pastor Douglas Wilson, Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho
Our great Father, we rejoice before You as the God who fulfills all Your promises. We glory in the mystery of the Incarnation, knowing that we worship You through the one who is fully God, and fully man. We remember that He is Your apostle, representing God to man. And we call upon You to remember that He is our high priest, representing us to You. We receive Him by faith, as the Creator, as the Spoken God, as the life of men, as the light of the world, and as the conqueror of all the darkness in the world. We pray to You in His strong name, the name of Jesus Christ, and AMEN.
Prepare the members of your family to think of Advent and Christmas in very material terms. This is not a season that celebrates vague spiritualities, but rather the season that celebrates God taking on flesh. The instinct to give gifts, to eat chocolate, to cut down a tree in the woods to bring it home, is therefore all very healthy and in line with the holiday. Matter enables us to give, and not just to grab.