Word Became Flesh
A man aged by sun and time stands on a small hilltop. The night is young but is fast growing old. He surveys the familiar landscape one last time. His eyes scan the contrasts of the moonlit night looking for any straggling sheep of his flock. A sigh of relief exhales used breath. The water molecules of the expended vapor freeze and a small man-made cloud peacefully floats out into the dark night. He turns back around and walks toward dancing shadows, given life by a roaring fire. Just before reaching the fire the old man once again peers up into the dark expanse that lingers above his head. The night’s sky is beautifully painted with an innumerable sea of glowing stars. He smiles and sits down to warm himself on this cold night.
The men sitting around the fire soon forget the stars and the cold lost in laughter and conversation. Suddenly, the heavens burst open with light. The glow from above startles the meager light cast from the dying fire. Dilated pupils quickly contract, driving every man to cover his eyes from the blinding light. At that moment that a sound so beautiful, so perfect graces the ears of every man in attendance. Angels so excited they could not hold back their praise have burst onto the scene of a few Shepherds. Fear is met with joy as the angel’s proclamation rattles the ears of men. Their sudden appearance is simply the effect of a cause. A cause greater than man has ever, and will never know: Word became flesh.
Prophets of old had proclaimed the moment for centuries. The birth of a coming Messiah was common knowledge in Judaism and was no doubt the focus of many prayers at the time. Somehow, when the prophecy was fulfilled, it came and went without the blink of an eye. Almighty God clothed Himself in the finite confines of human flesh, to be found in a meager manger because humanity had no place for Him. The pinnacle of a loving God’s creation walked about on earth, unaware that their creator and sustainer had just put on their shoes: Jesus was born; Word became flesh.
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No doubt, we are all familiar with the Christmas story and the reason why Jesus came. However, if you would bare with me, I would like to approach the account from a different perspective, from the perspective of Word.
Words intrigue me, but above my intrigue of etymological narratives and poetic wordplay, the idea of Divine Words strikes a cord in me. While my words can paint a picture with mere symbols painted black, igniting a kaleidoscopic of colorful images in your mind, God’s Word creates life. This minuscule ball we call home was formed not by blind selective process, but by a few words spoken by the original wordsmith. The Word was in existence before any known language could grasp Him. However, we are not here to talk about a philosophical idea of words; we are here to talk about the moment when this Word took his first breath. With this understanding in mind we read John, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14, English Standard Version). God’s Word is so powerful because the Word is not distinct from God, the Word is God.
I recently watched a lecture by Dr. Frank Turek where he made the statement, “The incarnation was not the subtraction of deity, it was the addition of humanity” (Source). Before the physical birth of Jesus, there was this chasm that stood between God and man. Yet, when Jesus laid down his life he willingly laid down in the chasm, connecting God and man. Jesus was both Holy God and Wholly Man. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5, ESV); Colossians 2:9 says, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (ESV).
Word became flesh. The Christmas season is a powerful time of reflection for each of us on the birth of our Savior. His first breath happened in a split second, a moment so minuscule in regards to the overarching timeline of humanity. That first breath, however, began one of the greatest epics known to man: the epic of man’s salvation. He came not to live, but to die.
In a different take on the Christmas story, I want to remind you that the Word of God gives life. Psalm 119:50 says, “… For Your word has given me life” (New King James Version). In the Christmas story, our Savior was born, but that is not the only birth that must take place. Jesus would later say, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5, ESV). As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I ask you to look at yourself. Have you been reborn? Have you been born of the water (through baptism) and Spirit (by the infilling of the Holy Spirit)? I do not find it coincidental that when one receives the Holy Spirit, they begin to speak in other tongues because Word gives life.
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A group of Shepherds were tending to their flocks on a cold night when angels stepped out of the supernatural to be seen in the natural. These men were going about their lives as normal. They had no idea that the promised Savior had just been born. Humanity had gotten so caught up in themselves that the birth of God Almighty had gone unnoticed. God, who spoke the universe into existence, was not born in a plush, regal palace; humanity had delegated his necessity away. We read in breath suspended awe the audacity of God being placed in a manger from which animals ate. Do not let hindsight blind you to present reality. Our world is just as guilty as those in Bethlehem.
My challenge to you over this Christmas season is simple: make a place for God in your life. The Savior has been born, but it is up to us to do something with what He gave us at Calvary. Even if you have been born again the fact remains, we all are guilty at times of pushing God to the peripheral limits of our lives. Put God at center stage.
- What will you do this Christmas season to instill the Word in your flesh?
- Does God truly have a place of importance in your life?
- Is God your priority or weekend hobby?
"Take with you words and return to the LORD…" (Hosea 14:2, ESV).