February 25, 2024 | 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)
Don’t you just love a good origin story? Every great hero or protagonist has a compelling, gripping tale that put them on their path. Think of Batman, Spider-Man, Luke Skywalker, Mulan, or Moana. Their origin story shows us why they became the heroes they did! It shows us the moments and circumstances that led to them stepping into their role and reveals why they’re needed in their respective stories.
Moana needed to go on her journey to save her island, Luke Skywalker needed to become a Jedi in order to save the galaxy, and Batman felt called to protect the city of Gotham. As we kick off the Advent season, today we’re going to look at the origin story of Christmas.
Now, you may expect us to look at the New Testament to do this (perhaps Matthew or Luke), but that’s not where the Christmas story begins. The genesis of this story is actually found in Genesis, all the way back to creation itself.
In Genesis 1:1 (NIV) it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Okay, so you may be asking yourself, “How is this the beginning of the Christmas story?” Well, it’s where we’re introduced to the One Christmas is all about: Jesus!
You see, 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 a powerful, complex, and beautiful idea. You see, ancient Greek thinkers were above all concerned with answering the biggest questions of reality.
Who am I?
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
They wanted to find the ultimate truth, purpose, and understanding behind everything. This is where logos came in. To the Greeks, logos was the universal reason found in all things which gives life and meaning to the universe—thoughts expressed in words; purpose expressed in reality.
The Jews had an equivalent term, memra, which comes from the Aramaic word for “speak,” and it was used to describe God’s creative activity, the dynamic force bringing God’s will to fruition.
What does this have to do with Christmas? Well, the Word we read about in John 1 is talking about Jesus! Look at 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. He’s God in the flesh. He’s the One who spoke the will of God into existence in the beginning (Genesis 1:1–2; Psalm 33:9; Hebrews 11:3). He is, as the Jewish people believed, the driving force of God’s activity and will, giving identity and value to all things and, as the Greeks believed, the universal reason inherent in all things (John 1:3). He’s the binding law that sustains all in existence (Colossians 1:15–17), giving purpose to all things.
But it doesn’t stop there, friends. John 1:14 (NIV, emphasis added) tells us the logos, 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 truth is made clear in Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 and again Matthew 1:23 (NIV) where we see the fulfillment of the prophecy that says, “They will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).”
This is what the Christmas season is all about! God became man. The very heart, mind, character, nature, power, and will of God was made manifest in human form. He came near so we may know Him!
He loves us so much that He left heaven to make a way for us to enter heaven and spend eternity with Him! This is why the angel instructs Joseph to name Him Jesus (Yeshua: God is salvation) “because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21 NIV). Jesus became man and made His dwelling among us so that through His birth, life, death, and resurrection, He could make His dwelling in us, in our hearts, and so we could dwell in His kingdom forever!
Pause: What do the first four words in the Bible tell us about God?
Practice: Christmas is all about how the Son of God came near, how He made His dwelling among us in order to save us. Today, tell someone how Jesus changed your life!
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.