A Christmas Story

I want to share a Christmas story that isn’t often told. It’s from John 1:1-18. Many scholars believe this was an early Christian hymn that predates the New Testament text.  I will share the portion of this ancient hymn that directly pertains to the Christmas story. This particular story gives us a unique perspective into why Jesus came to us on Christmas day.

In the very beginning the Living Expression was already there.  And the Living Expression was with God, yet fully God. They were together—face-to-face, in the very beginning. (John 1:1-2 TPT)

The Passion Translation (TPT) translates the Greek word, logos, as the “Living Expression.”  This word also had significant historical meaning to both the Greeks and the Jews. Basically, it meant “the structuring Reality of everything!” I wrote about that here.

We should also understand from this passage that God has never been alone, for He has always enjoyed continuous fellowship with the Son. The Trinitarian life of God is often called the “Divine Dance.” Here’s how theologian, C. Baxter Kruger, describes this divine fellowship:

“From all eternity, God is not alone and solitary, but lives as Father, Son and Spirit in a rich and glorious and abounding fellowship of utter oneness. There is no emptiness in this circle, no depression or fear or insecurity.  The Trinitarian life is a great dance of unchained communion and intimacy, fired by passionate, self-giving and other-centered love, and mutual delight.  This life is good.  It is right, unique, full of music and joy, blessedness and peace. Such love, giving rise to such togetherness and fellowship and oneness, is the womb of the universe and of humanity within it.” (C. Baxter Kruger, “The Trinitarian Summary Vision”)

Next, we see the Living Expression bringing this structuring reality we know as “existence” into being. God said, “Let there be light” and this Logos brought order from chaos (Gen.1:1-3).

And through his creative inspiration
    this Living Expression made all things,
    for nothing has existence apart from him!
Life came into being because of him,
    for his life is light for all humanity.
And this Living Expression is the Light that bursts through gloom—the Light that darkness could not diminish! (John 1:3-5 TPT)

Not only did the Living Expression create all things, and nothing has existence apart from Him, but He’s also continuously holding everything together! (See Col.1:16-17.) That means, at this moment and every moment forward, your atoms, along with everything else in the cosmos, is sustained by His power.

But this poses a relational problem for us. How can we, His finite creatures, living inside this fishbowl we call the cosmos, relate to a God who is wholly other, existing outside of every created realm? Philosophically speaking, this is an ontological category difference. We live in one plane of reality, if you will, and He exists in quite another.

C.S. Lewis said this problem would be like Hamlet trying to relate to Shakespeare which, of course, would be impossible since Hamlet only exists in the pages of a play and Shakespeare existed in our world. How can the protagonist of a script relate to its author?

It’s this question that philosophers have pondered from the beginning, and men have invented religions to try to answer this question—how can we know God?

And this gets to why Christmas!

To use C.S. Lewis’s analogy, the only way for Hamlet to ever truly know Shakespeare would be for Shakespeare to write himself into the play. And that’s exactly what God did! With the incarnation of Christ, God wrote Himself into our world! And this was all His doing, not ours.

13 He was not born by the joining of human parents
    or from natural means, or by a man’s desire,
    but he was born of God.
14 And so the Living Expression
    became a man and lived among us!
    And we gazed upon the splendor of his glory,
    the glory of the One and Only
    who came from the Father overflowing
    with tender mercy and truth! (John 1:13-14 TPT)

THIS is the Christmas story. The One who continuously holds the universe together became a man and lived among us! This Living Expression, this infinite, creator God, came to us from the womb of an unwed teenage girl, seen first by lowly shepherds, as a totally vulnerable infant lying in a feeding trough in a middle-of-nowhere town called Bethlehem. Who would make up such an incredible story!

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” (Luke 2:14 TPT). With the incarnation of Christ, God is now fully accessible to us! We can relate to Him, as John said in his first epistle:

We saw him with our very own eyes.
    We gazed upon him and heard him speak.
    Our hands actually touched him,
    the one who was from the beginning,
    the Living Expression of God.
This Life-Giver was made visible
    and we have seen him.
    We testify to this truth:
    the eternal Life-Giver
    lived face-to-face with the Father
    and has now dawned upon us. (1 John 1:1-2 TPT)

John tells us that, in Christ, we see what God is really like. Jesus Christ explains God to us, and this God comes to us, not through the law, but “wrapped in tender mercy.”

17 Moses gave us the Law, but Jesus, the Anointed One,
    unveils truth wrapped in tender mercy.
18 No one has ever gazed upon the fullness of God’s splendor
    except the uniquely beloved Son,
    who is cherished by the Father
    and held close to his heart.
    Now he has unfolded to us
    the full explanation of who God truly is! (John 1:17-18 TPT)

I’ve talked about this a lot here, but as Bill Johnson said, “Jesus Christ is perfect theology.” Whatever is like Jesus is like God; whatever is not like Jesus is not like God. In Jesus Christ we truly know God, for He is the Truth, He is the structuring reality of everything, and in Him we now can experience God’s own life (see John 14:6; 17:3, 23-24).

So, why did this God create? Why did He create us? And why did He write Himself into our “play” on Christmas day?

The answer revealed to us is that God is love (1 John 4:8), which is other-centered and self-giving, which also means that Love always desires to share of itself with others. Jesus came to us because God wanted to share His life with us. Merry Christmas!

“The stunning truth is that this Triune God, in amazing and lavish love, determined to open the circle and share the Trinitarian life with others. This is the one, eternal and abiding reason for the creation of the world and of human life. (C. Baxter Kruger, “Summary of the Trinitarian Vision“)

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 40 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Father Heart of God, Love and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Christmas Story

  1. This is pretty heavy stuff, Mel (as my generation would have said decades ago). Most folks will attend a Christmas Eve or Day service soon, sing some songs, light candles, and maybe see a plastic Baby Jesus asleep on the hay. Without the proper teaching and discipleship, however, most will miss the unfathomable reality of “Et verbum caro factum est, per Virgine Maria,” and the amazing cosmic consequence you discuss above. As you say, “Who would make up such an incredible story!” Thanks so much for sharing. Your perspectives are always 20/20. Merry Christmas.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks, Michael. And, yes, the deeper you dig into the Christmas story the more it will blow your mind! (To use another idiom from our generation!)

      Merry Christmas to you as well!

  2. Sweet! Well done, Mel. I love a good Christmas story.

    Church Curmudgeon, the coffee guy, recently said on Twitter, “The Word appropriated our culture and made his dwelling among us.” It was said a bit tongue and cheek perhaps, but there’s some really profound truth there. Jesus gave us a great gift in the sense that we can now know God, but also in the sense that we can now reflect God. We can walk just as Jesus did in the world. He said of Jesus, “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased,” but those words were not just meant for Jesus, He was showing us who we really are in Him. We are also God’s sons and daughters in whom He is well pleased.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Exactly, IB. Amen! As it says in the Mirror Bible, Jesus is the blueprint of humanity. Even though He was fully God, He showed us what it’s like to be fully human! And because He gave His Spirit to us, He seems to think we can do what He does (John 14:12). Imagine that! As you said, the Father is well pleased with us, and we are as Christ is in this world (1 John 4:17), so the incarnation continues with us as His beloved sons and daughters!

  3. Citizen Tom says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    Why did God create us? To love us. That is best explanation I know. Thanks.

  4. Eric Warner says:

    Amen! Mel, this is essentially the same vision that God has opened my eyes to over the past year. I have developed a new, rich love and appreciation for the incarnation of Jesus. Far too many in the church are happy to skip from the manager to the cross, seeing the whole Christmas story as a beautiful story but more so as something that had to happen in order for Jesus to die for our sins. John’s gospel beautifully reveals that the incarnation was not really about a justice transaction.

    • Mel Wild says:

      Thanks for your comments, Eric. Amen. We, in the West, seem to have a deficient understanding of the incarnation. We’ve obsessed so much on sin and the need for punishment, we risk missing the proverbial forest for the trees. We focus on the means rather than the ends, which is relationship! It wasn’t about a justice transaction, as you said, it was about a rescue! It was for love. This is where the Eastern Orthodox have a much better understanding of the meaning of Christmas.

  5. Pingback: A Christmas Story | In My Father’s House – Smart Christian.net

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