God revealed in the birth of Christ is a God you can truly believe in
I have shared this wonderful story before, but it bears repeating. It is a beautiful version of the Christmas story, reported by writer John Shea, as told to him by a little five-year-old girl.
“They were so poor they had only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to eat and they went a long way from home without getting lost. The lady rode a donkey, the man walked, and the baby was inside the lady.
“They had to stay in a stable with an ox and an ass (here she giggled), but the Three Rich Men found them because a star lighted the roof. Shepherds came and you could pet the sheep but not feed them. Then the baby was borned. And do you know who he was?”
At this point her eyes opened wide and her voice dropped to an excited whisper: “The baby was God!” Then she jumped up into the air, whirled around, dove into the sofa, and buried her head under a pillow – which is surely the only proper response to the News of the Incarnation.”
At Christmas we celebrate this profound, amazing and strangely simple story…We can know what God is like – God is just like Jesus.
In 1:14 of John’s gospel, John tells us: Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus shows us what God is like. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
The ‘Word’, which John talks about, “was God.” John is telling us that Jesus is the one who holds all of creation together, and tells us that Jesus shows us what God is like: “and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
When John speaks of the glory of Jesus – he is talking about seeing him clearly – and about how clearly and perfectly Jesus reflects his Father – a carbon copy. In five words John describes what Jesus makes known to us about God: He is “…full of grace and truth.”
So this is a Christmas gift which each of us receives: a perfectly painted picture of God – given to us in the humble and perfect person of Jesus Christ.
Maybe this God revealed in the birth of Christ is a God you too can truly believe in, someone in whom you can put your faith and trust. Someone you desperately need in a world that is not always filled with grace and truth.
John tells us that by believing in Jesus we receive the ability to become children of God. He later goes on to tell us in 20:31 that by believing that Jesus is the Messiah – we might have life in his name.
I invite you to take this life-giving Christmas gift quite seriously. Imagine it wrapped up under your tree on Christmas morning: open it, allow it to excite you; and like a child excited about their presents, be prepared to tell all those around you about this wonderful gift you have received.
…the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Rev. Dr Andrew Williams