Big Picture, Big Choice
Fr. Tom Simmons, 1 Christmas 2017 at 5 pm
Is it nice to be finished with Christmas?
We can sigh with relief that all the work is done and we can also reflect back on Christ's coming and what it means for us.
è Our reading from St. John's Gospel helps us do that. John shows us with the Big Picture and confronts us with a Big Choice.
Did you notice the Big Picture?
John shows Christ's coming in the very largest context possible.
Matthew and Luke told us of the conception and birth of Christ,
with lots of historical detail, like the itinerary of Mary and Joseph,
the political scene with August’s tax decree.
But John is different. He puts Christ and his ministry within a cosmic context.
It makes me think of the beginning of the movie Star Wars
…with the words of the prologue scrolling out into the vast expanse of interstellar space.
John shows Jesus from the perspective of …eternity.
He takes us all the way back to "the beginning", whenever that was.
He was there and back then he was called The Word, 'ho logos'.
He was there with God and, "He was God."
And when God chose to make stuff, the Word was the One who made it happen.
Back in Genesis 1 God SPEAKS creation into being with the word of his command.
God's said, "'Let there be light,'” and guess what, “…there was light."
I imagine that light as the Big Bang of light and velocity spreading ever-outward.
the light of 'billions and billions' of galaxies filling the primordial darkness.
John says that first Light was the glory of the Son of God shining in the darkness,
…and that light brought Life to all things.
I hear the hymn Hark the Herald Angels: "Light and life to all he brings…."
There’s “tiny baby Jesus” …in his cosmic context.
è But then he takes it a big step farther and makes a startling assertion.
He says this Divine Word "became flesh and lived among us."
Whoa! This just blows my mind.
John says, "He was in the world and the world was made through him…"
The Creator has now entered the creation.
He has become a man of flesh and blood, born of Mary and raised in Joseph's home in Nazareth.
His breath smells like hummus.
I think you can hear the author's very personal perspective here.
He says, he "lived among us." He was our companion and taught in our streets. We knew and loved this man.
We heard him fart at the dinner table…”Was that JESUS?!”
"And we beheld his glory," that beautiful uniqueness of his divine person-hood. We saw it with our own eyes.
John here seems like he’s searching for words.
He says things like, "He is full of grace and truth…From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace."
He flat runs out of words and starts repeating himself.
I'm not sure what this means, but it sounds pretty good, doesn't it?
God's grace and truth are what we all want and need, right?
è Well, evidently not everyone thought so at the time. Which brings us to the Big Choice…
Did you hear the language of choice in this passage?
John speaks ominously about how when Christ came to his own people, they did not accept him.
Just think of the irony!
"He was in the world, and the world was made through him, but the world did not know him."
And that's really the story of Christ's life.
He was surrounded by a bunch of clueless disciples,
with the fickle crowds following him around
and he had many cunning enemies trying to trip him up.
I imagine that this was not the kind of reception he was hoping for!
I mean they ended up crucifying him!
But it's not hard to understand WHY things turned out this way.
Christ's coming was obtrusive….like light shining in darkness.
It flipped the status quo and set people’s heads spinning.
It provoked resistance and polarization.
People sitting in the dark generally don't like it when the lights are suddenly turned on, right? “Turn out that light!”
But not everyone squeezed their eyes shut and turned away,
Many want to stay in the light.
We are drawn to Christ and embrace him and believe in him.
To them "He gave the power to become children of God."
So Christ's coming has brought a new choice into the world.
That choice is to receive the light and be transformed by it, or to turn away and shield yourself from the light.
It's a choice all of us must make…often.
Especially in the darkest times of life.
"Light has come into the world."
Will you embrace the light of Christ or will turn away?
Once we receive the light our job is to take it with us so others can see.
“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…”