Beginnings :: Christmas 1

John 1.1-18

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“In the beginning…”

How might you start a great novel? “Once upon a time”? “It was a dark and stormy night”? “Call me Ishmael”?

“In the beginning” might not be the most interesting first line, but St. John’s audience surely would’ve been impressed with the way he began his gospel about Jesus. Being Jewish followers of Christ, they recognized these three words as the start of the first book of their scriptures, Genesis. In those iconic opening verses the story of creation unfolds, revealing a God of imagination, grace, and beauty. At each stage of God’s birthing of new life, it is the Divine Word — “and God said, ‘let there be…’” —  that calls into existence all that is.

And it is that same Divine Word of God that John tells us was present prior to creation. Before anything was, God is. And God’s Word brings life and light into the world. That Word is Christ.

As John continues the prologue to his gospel he uses imagery of light and darkness to distinguish between those who understand who Jesus is and those who don’t, echoing the prophet Isaiah: 

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined.”

John’s profound dual revelation of Jesus as the Word of God and as the true light that has come into the world is no less powerful for us today than it was for his 1st century community. I can think of no better way to introduce us to the Lord of Life: “In the beginning…”

Something to ponder: How would you begin your gospel of Jesus?


Episcopal Lectionary for Christmas 1A


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