“and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…”
This clause from what is often called the prologue to St John’s Gospel is central to the message of Christmas, but at that point, we’ve only begun to understand the meaning of “Word.” The evangelist shows us that the Word did more than ‘dwell’ with us. The Word infused us with the power to become the children of God. And with that inheritance comes many responsibilities beyond blind acceptance. We must do more than sit still at the reading of the will. We are called to comprehend in the deepest possible way, the meaning of the Word.
Jesus the Word exhorts all to a life of love, first for God and then for our neighbors, and the first is often easier to work on, strangely enough, than the second. While we cannot see God, we desire to be God’s, and we strive through weekly worship and private devotion to become as close to God as humans can. Our prayer life directs us there, to the still small voice, to a closer communication with the divine.
It’s that second commandment that gives me trouble, and despite whatever efforts I might make toward others, the sins of omission rear up, and it is these that inform a great deal of my conversations with God. It is these that burden my soul, that give me the greatest pain, and place me in the greatest need for forgiveness.
How often have I had the opportunity to encourage someone’s efforts particularly at and for the church and not taken the time to say something that would have acknowledged them? I for one do not look for constant praise for whatever I am able to do for the church, but like everyone else, I like to be encouraged. Others must feel the same way, and I fail too often to give them the Word that Jesus might have given, the Word that might lighten their spirits, might bolster their strength, and that would certainly let them know that I appreciate their work.
It doesn’t take much to say such words to people. I have only to be mindful of them. If I want to be called a child of God, and if I have any resolutions for this coming year, let me more fully value the Word made flesh, and let me more often see the Word in others.
30 December 2014