John 1:9-14 - Christmas Eve drinks with your neighbour from Heaven
Tomorrow is Christmas Day 2018. Some of you will be reading this as the day starts and you are already on leave while others perhaps are racing into a final day of work realising that there is so much you still have to do before the shops close and you wonder how you will fit that in and still complete the agenda that awaits you at the office. And still some of you have just realised that there is no school today and you have 6 weeks with the children home!? Or maybe you are someone who is not looking forward at all to tomorrow because it means a day without family or friends that were with you last year because in the past year so much has changed. Whoever you are, it is FOR YOU that the apostle John writes this account of the birth of Jesus recorded in our reading today. "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (vs 14) God, in the person of Jesus has moved into our neighbourhood and set up home. In the power of his Spirit he remains with us always. Nothing changes this wonderful fact. It's what the angels sang about and the shepherds gave witness to. This is the reality for you and me today as we prepare ourselves for whatever Christmas day tomorrow brings us - God has moved next door.
There is one more little thing to note from this reading today - its found in the second half of verse 14. The Christ-child born in Bethlehem is declared by John to be 'full of grace and truth'. 'We have seen him' is what John says, and this one whom we have seen, this one whose eyes we have looked into, is grace and truth personified. Mercy, forgiveness, compassion, love, peace, justice, kindness - the list goes on and on - is all seen to be evident in the life of Jesus alongside his Truth. At the end of John's gospel account, we find recorded for us a discussion between Jesus and the governor of the region, Pilate and this conversation happens just before the sentence of death is passed over him. Jesus says to Pilate that the reason he was born and came into the world was to personify Truth (18:37) and Pilate retorts "What is Truth?" What Pilate failed to understand is what is made clear to us today on the eve of this Christmas celebration - Jesus is Truth, and in this Truth we find life. As you reflect on this reading today, on the reality of Jesus the King moving into the neighbourhood and setting up home beside you, consider saying 'YES' to Christmas eve drinks with this neighbour from Heaven.