Adapted from reflections by SP staff member Laurie Niewoehner.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth... For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace... No one has ever seen God; the only God who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.” - John 1:14, 16, 18 ESV
In the Advent tradition, candles are lit for the weeks leading to Christmas. The first four candles represent hope, peace, joy, and love. These are both characteristics of our Lord and the gifts we receive in him. The fifth candle, lit on Christmas, represents Christ himself.
When the wise men met Jesus, they fell down and worshiped him. This is remarkable, considering how little they understood about him. They only knew what they had discerned from the star they saw. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds knew more. They had encountered angels and heard promises about the baby.
But we, 2000 years later, know so much more than any of them. The prologue in the Gospel of John reveals the incredible meaning of Jesus’ birth: here, God himself was taking human form. And even more incredibly, the purpose of God’s visitation was to bring grace.
John’s words, “we have seen his glory,” remind us all of his face-to-face experience with Jesus. But his use of the words “we” and then “we all” includes his contemporary readers and modern believers among those who have “beheld his glory.” So we bring to our celebration of Christmas not only our knowledge of the story and its meaning, but our own experience of his grace and glory.
This lens of history, theology, and experience illuminates the story of Jesus’ birth and draws us to worship. As Lucy said in C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, “In our world too, a stable once had something inside it that was bigger than our whole world.”
Come, let us adore Him!