Day 20 – Nativity in the Book of John

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2018 Advent Series – Day 20

We’re so familiar with nativity story told in Matthew and Luke. A full inn. A swaddled babe in a manger. Shepherds in their fields by night. Wise men coming from afar. These images have impressed themselves forever in our minds as The Christmas Story. And this is right and good.

But as an exercise, I was reading the opening passages of John this morning, trying to superimpose these words about Jesus onto the image of the swaddled baby. And wow! How they fill out those images of the Christmas night!


1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He 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 gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And 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. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

[John 1:1-5, 9-18]


How utterly unnerving and difficult to comprehend, that this Word, this glory as of the only Son from the Father, was also the crying baby emerging through the birth canal. But this description of him also helps to explain the attitude of the angels:

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a anger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

[Luke 2:10-14]




Word who was in the beginning with God! Light who overcomes the darkness! Man through whom the world was made! How can we worship you enough for having emptied yourself and become one of us, out of love and obedience? How can we comprehend what you have done? How can we see more clearly the good news that the angels sang? Teach us to see you!


[Note from Tilly: Finding myself pregnant at Christmas for the third time, I’ve committed to do a short advent devotional each weekday of December . They will all be labeled by date and can be found together under the “Advent” subject category.]

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