October 1, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it . . . The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”—John 1:1–5, 9–14 (NIV)
“In the beginning was the Word . . .”
What do you think of when you think about the Christmas story? There’s a manger, Joseph, Mary, some shepherds, and baby Jesus. Did you know that Jesus’ story doesn’t start in the manger? In fact, to say that there’s a ‘start’ to His story doesn’t make sense because of how big a deal Jesus really is. John 1:1 tells us Jesus was not only in the beginning with God before creation, but He’s also God Himself! So, in order to tell the whole Christmas story, we can’t just talk about the beginning of Jesus’ time on Earth as a baby. Instead, we have to start with the beginning of everything. Everything made in creation was done by and for Jesus (Colossians 1:16). Things didn’t just happen but were made on purpose. That includes you and me, too. We are God’s creations through Jesus, so our lives matter a lot to Him.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
Jesus is often referred to as “life” and “light.” When we follow Jesus, it’s like always being in a well-lit place. By the light He gives us, we can see clearly and feel safe. When we don’t want to do what He says, it’s like hiding in a dark place. People who want to hide what they’re doing want to stay in the dark, but being in the dark means being without God. He created us to be close with Him. In fact, the very definition of eternal life is knowing God (John 17:3). If you believe in Jesus, your eternal life has already started!
“He gave the right to become children of God.”
So, we already know God created everything in the beginning through Jesus and that because He’s life and light we get to know Him. But, there’s actually one more part to this passage that’s very important. Just how close does Jesus want to be with us? Let me tell you a story: When I was a kid, I didn’t have a big family. Sometimes, on the night before Christmas, I’d walk around my neighborhood and imagine behind all the lit windows there were families having fun celebrating Christmas—and I’d wish I could be there, too. I had close friends and was invited to lots of parties. But whenever I was at a party, I’d always feel separate since I wasn’t a part of their family. Creation is like that. Even though everyone in the world has been created by God through Jesus, not everyone is a part of His family. Once I believed in Jesus, that’s when I got to be called a child of God. Now I have a HUGE family, because all the people that believe in Jesus are my brothers and sisters. So, even though God created us, He isn’t satisfied with us just being part of His creation—He wants us to be His children!
Ask a parent or trusted adult what it’s like to know God.