God's Light is Dawning,
a sermon based on all lessons, esp. John 1:1-14
by HW in HI
Does anyone know what day it is? Right this is the third day of Christmas.
Does anyone remember what youre supposed to get on the third day of Christmas? I
think its three geese-a-laying isnt it? Okay, just one more question:
how many days are there of Christmas tide thats what we call the season:
Christmas tide. Right there are 12. What comes next is Epiphany.
So here we are on the third day of Christmas. And once again, the church is out of step
with the rest of the world. Everywhere there is after Christmas sales. People are already
taking down trees, putting away stockings. And if you think its extreme today
just wait until the 12 day of Christmas no questions Ill tell you this
time the 12th day of Christmas is January 5th. Just wait, and see if anyone is
That is the way, isnt it: the church is a little out-of-step, a little different.
I have a friend on the mainland, a Methodist minister who is also a mom, and every year
she gets everything ready for Christmas before Thanksgiving, so she and her family can
really experience Advent, knowing that Christmas will be stress-free. And then they
celebrate Christmas all the way until January 5th.
I envy her and her family. I would love to do that. But in Hawaii it just doesnt
work, for 2 pretty good reasons:
1. If you wait until December 24th to get your Christmas tree, you will go without. 2.
The local culture says to get everything put away, and the house spick and span for New
Years. 3. When we lived on Oahu, the free tree pick-up for recycling ended before January
5th. Thats not a Big Island reason I get it, but it was real enough last
Also, lets face it Im just not that organized. I live like everyone
else, with one foot firmly in the secular world, and trying like crazy to keep one foot in
the sacred world. Some days, it is a stretch.
Okay, so here we are, on the third day of Christmas, living in two worlds. Lets
not worry about it. Does anyone here have any unopened Christmas presents? Are you going
to open them? Of course you are.
This morning I want to talk about another unopened present: Jesus Christ.
I say that because Jesus was and is really a gift to us. God gave us the gift of Jesus.
But it is a gift that we sometimes forget to open. Now Jesus looks pretty good, all
wrapped up in shiny paper sitting under the tree?
What I mean is, it is easy for us to let Jesus be a pretty Christmas symbol for us. And
it is a whole lot easier to leave things like that. But if God went to the trouble to join
us on earth, it is probably worth our effort to spend a little time pondering the mystery.
The Gospel of John is often called the Fourth Gospel. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the
same story, sometimes in a different order, but pretty much the same story. Well, John
tells the same story, too, but very differently. Today we heard, In the beginning
was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. It goes on to tell
us, And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the
glory of a fathers only son, full of grace and truth.
Well, lets open the gift a little and figure what weve got.
The idea of the word of the Lord can be found in the Old Testament (Hosea
and Joel). The Hebrew means more than spoken word, also event, or
act. The 33 Psalm tells us that By the word of the Lord the heavens were
So what? Okay fair enough. Heres what I think: John is telling us that Jesus
existed before time, as the Word. And the word was the action by which God got things
done. The Word was there as part of God. But when God had had it, and decided to get
involved in things on earth up close and personally then it was God the
Word that became Jesus.
So instead of saying Father, Son and Holy Spirit we could say:
Father, Word and Holy Spirit.
Lets try that:
In the beginning was Jesus, and Jesus was with God, and Jesus was God.
And Jesus became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of
a fathers only son, full of grace and truth.
When people say Word of Life theyre talking about Jesus. Also
when we see Logos thats Greek for Word which we now know means Jesus.
So we have part of God which had always existed part of God became flesh. What
kind of present is this?
I want to suggest to us all this morning that this is the really great gift. This is
the gift that was too big, too wonderful to put on our lists, too much to hope for. This
is the gift that didnt break the day after Christmas. This is the gift that
wasnt the wrong color. This is the gift that didnt arrive a day too late.
Because God wasnt relying on the US Postal Service, and God wasnt relying on
UPS and God wasnt relying on Federal Express. This is the just right gift that fits
you guaranteed. The right color, the right size. Unbreakable.
Lets get Jesus out of the gift box. Hes the gift we forgot to ask for
because we didnt know we could ask for him. We got him anyway. Forget the after
Christmas sales and the exchanges. God gave us the real thing. Thank God! Amen.