“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.”John 1:14
This is how the Apostle introduces us to the amazing Christmas joy that he and his fellow apostles experienced. He shows us that this joy needs to be seen and acknowledged. “We beheld” – their eyes needed to be opened to behold this. What we want to see and actually see must really be there.
John points us to what was really there. He doesn’t write about Mary or Joseph, the angels or the shepherds, the manger or the stable. He just tells us what really happened: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Someone explained: “Just like you can use a magnifying glass to direct the rays of the sun to a precise point, so John points us to an important fact: that Jesus became man. He became flesh (human), and dwelt among us.”
Paul states that He “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of man” (Philippians 2:7). With this, the great, godly mystery was fulfilled. God really could not come closer to us. He, whom all heavens and skies could not contain, revealed Himself to us in a human form. To this, a poet says: “When I want to grasp this miracle, my spirit stands still in awe; it worships and realizes that God’s love is infinite.”
From the manger to the cross, Jesus shared in our lives and our sorrows. He became human so that we could become His brothers and sisters. He was the light of the world that shone into our loneliness, our darkness, and our sin-filled lives. He came to solve the problem of sin, to offer us forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.
This is the glory that John and the disciples saw in Jesus: “a glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Christmas reminds us of this glory. John placed Jesus alone as the unique glory at the center of the heavenly, holy night. Therefore, He must be at the center of our Christmas celebration. Whoever does not see Jesus at Christmas does not see His glory.
The shepherds in Bethlehem’s fields understood this. And when the angels were gone again, they said, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us” (Luke 2:15). Likewise, the wise men from the East came and “saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him” (Matthew 2:11). Simeon was also given the opportunity to see the Child. He took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
They all recognized and saw in this helpless child the Savior of the world and His glory. They were given a bright vision of faith, which can also be given to each of us. A poet testifies to this with the words:
Come, holy Christmas night, with your eternal light;
Revive our tired age with glory bright!
Let star and manger shine again for all to see,
And let us understand their mystery.
Where there are broken hearts travailing in the night,
Let faith and love be kindled through Your light!
Let those who cry for peace in this, our troubled time,
Receive Your peace and let Your glory shine!
This glory can be bypassed, which often happens all over the world and may even happen in the church.
A Sunday School had prepared the Christmas program. A manger had been set up with a wonderful light shining from it. During the celebration, a little boy crept up to the manger, looked inside, and shouted loudly into the church, “Mommy, there’s no Jesus in it!” This was a shattering message. Some were prompted to serious reflection. One could not simply ignore the child’s exclamation.
Of the many things that happen around the concept of “Christmas,” it really needs to be stated, “there is no Jesus in it!” Unfortunately, many Christmas celebrations in companies, schools, families, or even churches pass without a prayer or any spiritual thoughts.
May we all celebrate Christmas again but hopefully with the resolution: Jesus must be in it! Where He is missing, His glory will not be seen. May the Lord allow us to experience such a noticeable blessing this Christmas that we can say: “We beheld His glory!”