January 22, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“In the beginning, God . . .”—Genesis 1:1 (ESV)
I love fairy tales! One thing that makes fairy tales stand apart to me is just how well they set the stage for the story you’re about to immerse yourself in. How do they do this? With four simple words: “Once upon a time . . .”
The Bible, the greatest and most important book ever written, begins in a very similar fashion. In Genesis 1:1, it also opens with four simple words: “In the beginning, God . . .” It sounds so uneventful; and yet, behind these words we find the ultimate answers to many of the biggest questions of life.
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” —Genesis 1:1–3 (ESV, emphasis added)
And it’s HERE where the Christmas story begins!
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Where is the Christmas story in that passage?” Easy! It’s the first reference to the One Christmas is all about: Jesus!
You see, similar to Genesis 1:1, John 1:1 (NIV) tells us, “In the beginning was the Word . . .” The Greek word here for Word is logos. The concept of logos is honestly kind of mind blowing. The simplest way to explain it is that logos is the reason behind something. The term basically describes a collection of things put together in thought and expressed in words.
Ancient Greek thinkers and influencers were concerned with answering the biggest questions of reality—not unlike us today! They wanted to find ultimate truth, purpose, and understanding behind everything. This is where logos came in. To the Greeks, logos is that which gives life and meaning to the universe. It’s the reason behind all things, the driving force that gives identity and purpose.
What does this have to do with Christmas? Well, the Word we read about in John 1 IS JESUS! Look at the rest of John 1:1–3 (NIV, emphasis added): “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.”
Jesus is the living embodiment of the Word of God. It was Jesus who spoke the will of God into existence in the beginning (Genesis 1:1–2; Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3). Jesus is the heart, will, and mind of God revealed to the world. He is the driving force of God’s activity and will, giving life, meaning, identity, purpose, and value to all things!
But it doesn’t stop there, because John 1:14 (NIV) says the Word, who holds the universe together and through whom all of creation came into being, “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” This is what the Christmas season is all about and why we sing songs like “Oh Holy Night,” because it was truly a night like no other. It was the night that the very One who said “Let there be light,” stepped into His creation to bring light into our hearts so that “whoever follows [Him] will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12 NIV).
Pause: What do the first four words in the Bible tell us about God?
Practice: Write down your story and share it with someone this week. Also, consider how God’s story has impacted your story.
Pray: Dear God, thank You for being a personal God who gives meaning to all things. Thank You for loving and being deeply involved with Your creation. As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, I pray I’d be reminded of what this season is truly all about: how Your Son came to Earth and “made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14 NIV) so I could know You, have a relationship with You, and find true meaning and purpose in this wonderful life You’ve gifted me. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.