John 1:1-18 (NRSV)
Chapter 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Verse 2He was in the beginning with God. Verse 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being Verse 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
Verse 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Verse 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. Verse 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. Verse 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. Verse 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. Verse 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. Verse 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. Verse 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, Verse 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Verse 14And 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.
Verse 15(John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") Verse 16From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. Verse 17The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Verse 18No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.
Several years ago, my mother-in-law expressed to me the emotional roller coaster she feels during the holiday season. "It's such a wonderful build-up to Christmas Day, all the preparations and excitement. Then it comes and it's over so fast. It can feel sad and empty on the 26th." Drawing on my knowledge of the liturgical calendar, I said cheerfully, "But it's not over! We get twelve full days of Christmas!" Each year since, she has found joy in reminding all of us in the family exactly which day of Christmas it is when we are together, even changing the "Days Until Christmas" sign to "Days OF Christmas."
Today, on this tenth day of Christmas, John reminds us that the core of our Christmas joy is the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. God coming to us in Christ is not "one-and-done." Neither is it confined to twelve days. It is Christ's abiding presence that began even before time and is still with us today.
Abiding God, we give thanks for the lasting joy found in relationship with you. Today, help us see and appreciate how you take on human flesh in our lives through family, friends, neighbors, faith communities, and even strangers, so we may be assured you still dwell with us. Amen.