December 28, 2008
The Gospel of John begins with the words: “In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God, and the word was God”. Here, John tries to help us understand what God is doing through the incarnation of his Son. This is such a rich and deeply spiritual subject that one can write pages and pages on it. The Word becoming flesh means that it was no longer a concept of what it means, but the birth of Jesus translates to the word taking on human flesh. In Jesus, God gives us part of himself, so that we can see and hear him. The Moravian hymn writer, James Montgomery puts it best when he wrote of Jesus in one of his hymns: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed! Great David’s greater Son! Hail, in the time appointed, His reign on earth begun! He comes to break oppression, to set the captive free, to take away transgression, and rule in equity.
He comes with succor speedy, to those who suffer wrong; To help the poor and needy, and bid the weak be strong; To give them songs for sighing, their darkness turn to light, whose souls, condemned and dying, were precious in His sight.
As we celebrate another Christmas, we are reminded of a broken world looking for transformation and renewal. We are called upon as Moravians, to be bearers of good news that will have an impact and make a difference in the midst of poverty, HIV/AIDS, war, oppression, injustice, bitterness, hatred, divisiveness and suffering. We are challenged not to be afraid, but to proclaim the good news in word and deed of a liberating Christ that continues to enter into the darkness of our world, providing a new day of hope where great joy will prevail. The Angels brought the Shepherds good news: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke. 2:10). Just as the Angels brought the Shepherds the good news, so the world is waiting for the Church to be the source of great joy to all people everywhere. The Church is not just the Pastor, but all who are called by the name of Jesus, the body of believers.
Christ has the power to transform the world. From birth, as the Bible nativity shows, the Christ Child was destined for greatness. Yet there had to be some thirty (30) years of careful preparation before he could set about his earthly mission, which lasted less than three (3) years, but the effects of which are eternal. His is surely the greatest example of dedication, commitment, and resolve that the world has ever seen.
May this Christmas and the year ahead be filled with opportunities to thank and praise God for the great joy of sharing and living the good news of the Gospel.