I always try to read one of the Gospels around this time of year – generally I’m working on the script for the Passion play, so it’s a necessity. No Passion play this year, so it’s just for myself. I decided this morning to read John, because I tend to neglect that one. I didn’t get very far, though. I had trouble getting past the first few verses.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Then, later – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

I’m utterly knocked out by this. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I think we’ve heard those verses so often we just kind of skim them. They’re the intro, just something to get through before we start the story. But listen – the Word was made flesh. Jesus is the Word of God. What does that mean? I can’t answer. I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

I know that God’s Word is living. I know that God spoke and created everything. “Without him (the Word) nothing was made that has been made”. Is Jesus the Word that went out from God in creation? Is Jesus the Word God spoke when He crafted His salvation plan? Even the questions sound nonsensical – Jesus is a person, how can He be a word (or even a Word)? But that’s what it says – the Word became flesh.

It’s a mystery. A great, big, hugemongous God mystery. And when I bring it up to someone, with a tone of wonder and awe, I usually get blank stares in return.

We don’t tend to like mysteries, unless they’re the kind we can solve with the clues in 60 minutes, including commercial breaks. We like “Four steps to being a mature Christian”. We like “Twelve biblical steps to healing your hurts” – as if God can be broken down into easily digestible chunks, studied under a microscope, then fully understood and put to work for us. It’s not comfortable to say, “This is bigger than I am, and I will never, ever understand it”.

Look at Christmas (you can’t help but look at Christmas everywhere you go this time of year). Even forgetting the commercial side, even looking at it from a religious perspective, we try to make it a story we understand. A young mother, no room at the inn, a cute little baby born in a stable, and the angels sang and the shepherds came and the animals must not have smelled too bad.

Here’s what Christmas is about – the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. At Christmas, the Word of God became flesh. The Word who was with God and who was God. What does that mean?

I don’t know. And I’m okay with that. It helps me remember that God is God, and that I am human, and that there are some mysteries I’m not meant to understand.

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