Boletim dos Obreiros

The Right Perspective of Christmas

(John 1:14)

Christmas! Great day of Christianity. There is no event which overtakes it in importance in the historical context. 25th of December traditionally became "Christmas Day", to celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus.

With the expansion of Christianity among the people, the celebration of Christmas assumed a perspective turned towards the historic facts on earth which composed the event, in the light of the reports of the Synoptic Gospels written by Matthew and Luke, who were concerned only with the recording of the pertinent facts concerning the life and the Work of Christ, without dogmatic connotation. John wrote his Gospel to contest, still in the first century of the Church, the Gnostic heresy which denied the Divinity of Christ.

 

The truth is that the world became accustomed to celebrate the event adhering only to the historical earthly perspective, losing the important perspective of profound theological content of the birth of the Lord Jesus. Hence the Christmas scenes, with the notable and moving episodes involving Mary and Joseph, the inn and the poor manger, the presence of the angels, the shepherds, the wise men, etc. In the passing of time other decorative and symbolic elements were added to expressively emphasise the celebration, and the traditional nativity scene and other illustrative accessories emerged.

 

We want to enhance the correct perspective, offered by the Evangelist John, little thought about in the days of Christmas, but of capital significance. He records the birth of the Lord Jesus, stating: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." What a remarkable record! It takes us to eternal values which have to do with the birth of the Lord and involve Him entirely! In the context, we contemplate all the grandeur of these values! Let us see:

 

1. HE IS THE ETERNAL - "In the beginning …" (v. 1). This expression asserts the eternity of the Lord! In Bethlehem someone was born who pre-existed his own human birth, for he was himself the "Beginning".

2. HE IS THE WORD - "In the beginning was the Word" (v.1). Jesus Christ is called "Word" (v. 14; 1 John 1:1; Rev 19:13), that is: "The Creating Word of God" (Gen 1:1-26; Psa 33:6); "The Revealing Word" (Psa 33:4, 119:89); "Saving Word" (Psa 107:20). John emphasizes that the pre-existent "Word" fully assumed human existence, to make Himself equal to human beings (Phil 2:5-11; Heb 2:10-11, 14).

3. HE IS GOD THE CREATOR - "… was with God, … was God… all things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (vs.1-3). The Divinity of Christ, fundamental theme of the Gospel of John, is the safe basis of the efficacy of His Redeeming Work, just as undeniably real is his Creative Work. See Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:2). If He were not God, his birth would have been useless, and all He did would be ineffective to make valid the Divine project to restore fallen mankind to fellowship with God.

 

4. HE IS LIFE - "In Him was life…" (v. 4) - This concept leads us to think on the basic benefit of the Saving Work, amply expounded by John in his Gospel. Life is the gift by excellence which God offers to human beings. This life does not end with death (John 11:25), and for this reason is generally called "everlasting life" (John 3:16; 5:24).

 

5. HE IS LIGHT - "… was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (vs. 4-5); "… the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (v. 9). John designates the revealing and saving action of Christ with the symbol of Light (John 8:12; 9:5; 17:46).

 

6. HE LIVED AMONGST US - (v. 14) - This means that He placed His camping tent in the midst of men, making Himself man ("flesh"), in order to be suitable, in human condition, for the purpose of the Father to redeem us from eternal perdition (Phil 2:7-8).

 

7. HE REVEALED THE GRACE, THE TRUTH AND THE GLORY OF GOD (v.14) - With the expression "grace and truth" which can be translated as "love and faithfulness", John proclaims that in Jesus Christ he recognises God himself. The "glory" refers to the active presence of God to save His people (John 2:11; 17:5)

 

Let us celebrate Christmas under this right perspective and we shall be spiritually favoured! Christmas is not just the punctual remembrance of a historical event, but it is the permanent experience of the blessed Christian reality!

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