Read John 1.1-18
The beautiful simplicity of Christmas
There is a beautiful simplicity to the Christmas season. Defining the hope that comes is really quite simple. There are complicated realities surrounding it to be sure – political realities, socioeconomic realities. Navigating through relational maze for Mary & Joseph as they come to grips with reality of their situation – an unwed, Spirit-impregnated teenager, a dream (series of dreams), an unwavering acceptance of the messenger’s word. Conspiring governments and road-weary astrologers. Questionable family lines of violence and barrenness. Complications, yes. But the hope is quite simple.
John 1 tells us that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; that the Word took up residence in a broken neighbourhood – in our neighbourhood. John doesn’t deal with the complications of the season. He cuts through it all to get right to the hope – the simple hope. John doesn’t worry himself with shepherds and rulers, wisemen and innkeepers, angels and visions. I think he knows that such things can distract us.
How many wisemen were there again? Were they there before the shepherds or did they meet on the way to the manger? And what about the gifts?
John simply states – as the prophets stated a thousand years before him – a light was shone into the darkness and the darkness had no answer for it. No answer. No way to overcome it. Has not overcome it. Still can’t overcome. There is no darkness so dark that God’s light cannot dispel it.
Light. A word was spoken before there was anything and light was created, bursting onto the scene. In the same way, the word came as light into the world – bursting through the darkness, creating a new reality – creating a new hope – a simple hope. The Word, the light now lives among us. Immanuel.
It’s really quite simple. We are in the company of Jesus. God is with us. That simple hope has been changing things for quite some time. Some are amazed, some are scared, some are intrigued, some are repulsed, some are in awe. But it doesn’t change the hope.
Perhaps the problem is that we don’t always see it as so simple. We are a distracted people, prone to distraction. It can’t be just that – can’t be that simple. The complications of our world and of our lives overwhelm us. Navigating through the complexity of relationships, family, jobs or lack there of; through the politics in our lives, our homes, our churches, and our world.
God saw our distracted complexity and gave us the very thing we needed – the very best thing he could think to give us. He gave himself. It really is quite simple. And so we celebrate a simple hope this season – that God shone a light into our complex reality and gave himself. Amidst the complexity of this season, perhaps we can ask ourselves, what’s the best way to celebrate this simple hope?