In churches that use the Common Lectionary there are many passages of scripture that are read once every three years. There are also a great number of others that are (sadly) never read at all. In all the passages that are read, however, there is one passage that is read several times a year, including at Christmas. But why? Because it puts the relationship between God and man into sharp focus.
It talks about two people.
There is Jesus, the God made flesh, who was with God before time began, and who chose to divulge himself of godly form so that he could be born and live among us. And, that Jesus, despite being God and despite being human, was then rejected by the very people he came to save. And then there is John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin—a normal human being, who had the unenviable task of pointing people to Jesus.
In other words this story, this passage from John’s Gospel—commonly referred to as a prologue—sets the scene for the events that were about to unfold. It is about relationships. And in that, even at the start, there is an obvious challenge.
Because, if this prologue tells us about the relationship of God the Father with Jesus his Son, and if it describes John the Baptist’s relationship with Jesus, then it raises the question of our own relationship with our creator and redeemer too.
And I guess that’s the real challenge of this passage. Because, yes, we can read nice nativity stories. We can sing Christmas Carols to our hearts content. But this passage challenges us to examine our true relationship with Jesus.
Indeed, do we have an intimate relationship with our creator and redeemer? And, like John the Baptist, do we point others to Jesus? Because, surely, that is the point of needing to repeatedly remind ourselves of the need to have a relationship with the Father and the Son, not just once, but several times a year.
Posted 21st February 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis