I speak to you on this Christmas Day in the name of the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. So begins the hymn of the divine Word, what in Greek is known as the Logos hymn, which is our gospel reading today. It is also our gospel reading for tomorrow, but let’s face it, there’s a reason all the music apps on your phone have a repeat button. We listen to all our favorite songs on repeat, and this one is no different! It is one of the greatest hymns of scripture, and it sings to us of the eternal story of God. We sing this hymn today to remind us that, though Christmas, the physical birth of the God-man Jesus Christ that we are here to celebrate, though this birth is truly a new beginning, that new beginning is for us only. Jesus Christ, though newly human when he is born of Mary his mother, is the timeless God, the eternal Word that is the very ground of our existence, the one that the Book of Genesis describes when it says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In Genesis God said let there be light, and in this hymn, the Logos hymn, he himself is that same light, the light of all people, the light that enlightens everyone, that shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it. The Letter to the Hebrews is more direct even than John’s Logos hymn when it says that Jesus is the one through whom God also created the worlds, that he is the exact imprint of God’s very being.
It is that timeless God whose strange, mysterious birthday we celebrate today, the God whose eternal love boils over into the creation he made as he becomes truly human in Jesus Christ yet remains fully God. But as theologian Karl Barth says, it is also our birthday, for “Christmas is the birthday of every Christian.” The Logos hymn sings this to us: “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” As our collect says, today, and indeed, every day by the renewal of the Holy Spirit, we are made God’s children by adoption and grace.
Saint Augustine and Saint John Chrysostom, two great saints of the Church and interpreters of scripture, both held that “it is beyond the power of man to speak as John does” in the Logos hymn, and I agree. There are ultimately no words that can be added to this glorious hymn of divine love, so the only thing left to do is to sing it. “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” Many blessings to you. Happy birthday, and a very Merry Christmas. Amen.
The Rev. Dillon Green
December 25, 2021
St. James Episcopal Church, Wichita, KS