“The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 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” (John 1: 9-13, NRSV).
As you celebrate the birth of Christ this week, I hope this passage in John inspires you. In just a few short lines, John declares God’s gift to us in Christ. Though Christ was the creator of the universe and one who gives us the power to become children of God, the circumstances of his birth and life were exceedingly humble. How many rulers are born in a stable beside beasts of burden? How many are born to lowly parents expecting a child before they married? How many grow up without a superior education, and work with their hands for a living? As adults, how many rulers embrace ethnic and religious minorities with equal concern? How many treat females as fully human—as if they were fully part of God’s New Covenant community?
In the world to which Christ came, birth was destiny. One’s ethnic, economic, religious status, and certainly one’s gender shaped one’s social status. To such a world, God sent a humble savior, born among common people. Amazingly, the stars, the angelic beings, and all classes of society—kings, magi, and shepherds—welcomed this child-God sleeping beside the animals. Here a glorious assembly worshipped a lowly king—a savior—born of Mary’s flesh and the Holy Spirit.
To those who do not despise his humbleness but welcome him as Lord, they, too, become children of God. They, too, are born of the Spirit—a birth that challenges the powers and principalities of our world. In clear terms, John tells us that unlike our natural birth, which gains us status in our world, our rebirth in Christ is shaped and determined by God’s will and for God’s purposes and pleasure.
This Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our savior and the newness of life Christ brings. We joyfully work beside you in declaring that Christ does indeed make all things new. To those who believe in Christ, God gives the “power to become children of God,” a rebirth in the Spirit in whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, or male nor female.
Thank you for joining CBE in sharing the good news of Christmas with so many others each year!
From all of us at CBE, we wish you a very joyous Christmas season and a very happy New Year.
In Jesus who is pure love!