Archive for December 2009

The Manger is Empty . . . and so is the Tomb

December 23, 2009

John 1:1-5, 9-14

The Word Became Flesh

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We don’t usually think of the gospel of John when we recount the Christmas story. We tend to go to Luke chapter 2 or Matthew 1 & 2, and rightly so, for they provide the most detailed accounts of Christ’s birth.

Yet the first chapter of John provides us perhaps the greatest summary of the advent of Christ, why He came into the world as a human baby. Jesus is God incarnate – Emmanuel: God with us. The tiny Jewish baby we first encounter lying in a feed trough in a borrowed stable was God in the flesh. He was vulnerable as any other infant – tiny and dependent on the care of Mary and Joseph. But he was also Messiah – the annointed one come to take away the sins of His people. A light of hope and salvation for the Jews and also for the Gentiles.

The Eternal Word, Sovereign God, voluntarily cast off most of His divine powers and humbled Himself, taking on bone and flesh to live as the Light of the World. This same baby would grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. As a man, he would incur the disfavor of the religious establishment, ultimately to lay down His life (again, voluntarily) for our sakes by suffering a terrible death on a Roman cross. He was then buried in a borrowed tomb. End of story . . . ?


Oh sure, many are happy to leave Jesus as a baby, still lying in a borrowed manger.

Others are quite content to leave Jesus as a dead man, still lying in a borrowed tomb.

But the manger is empty.

And so is the tomb.

The Light of the World still shines on. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. . . and He lives on today!

Merry Christmas.