The Birth of God’s Word

By Christmas morning we have told the story of Jesus’ birth in the stable many times in this parish church.

At two p.m. we used the crèche to tell the story to the tots and toddlers. At four p.m. the older children told the story themselves–dressed in costume and singing favorite carols. When we tell stories to children they want to know: what happened? And what happened next? Continue reading

Christmas Day: Traveler on a Cosmic Journey

John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. Continue reading

A Blessing for the New Year

What better way to greet the new year than with a blessing

Aaron with Blossoming Rod, From Amiens Cathedral

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the Israelites: You shall say to them,

The LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

So they shall put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them. 

Moses and Aaron were brothers, and they had a sister, Miriam. God called Moses to be a prophet and lead the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the land that God promised them.  Aaron was called to be a priest, and his descendants were dedicated to serving God, and leading the people in worship.  Their older sister, Miriam, was the one who watched over Moses when as an infant he floated on the river in a basket. She watched until he was discovered by Pharoah’s daughter, and taken in safety to grow up in the palace.   A passage in the book of Micah suggests she had a legacy with significant regard among later prophets: “And I brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, and I sent before you Moses, and Aaron, and Miriam.” Micah 6:4.  God sent Moses, Miriam and Aaron to bless and lead the people.  As we begin our journey through the coming year, remember that you are blessed.

Because this is a story from the Hebrew Scriptures, I suggest a Jewish source for children’s activities related to blessings: Blessing Activities.  Here is a way for children to count their blessings.

Mother Anne+

Christmas Day: In the Beginning was the Word

How do we begin to understand who was born to us on Christmas Day?

The Nativity by Georges de la Tour

 We look through different lenses as we read each Gospel. The Beginning of the Gospel of John describes the birth of Jesus in cosmic terms.  He is the “Word made flesh.”  He is the one through whom the world was made.  He existed with God before the beginning of time.  He is one with the Father.

The writer of John’s Gospel speaks in terms of light and darkness, which is why I have included this image of the Nativity by Georges de la Tour, an artist who famously painted subjects illuminated by (often hidden) candles.  The painting is a meditation on light and dark.  We think about light and dark when we hear the first verses of Genesis, as we will on January 8.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

           Without light it is impossible to see, so light calls on our sense of seeing.  But in the presence of Jesus we have all the light necessary to see the Glory of God.  And in calling Jesus the Word of God (Greek: Logos), the text also calls on our sense of hearing.  The Word is a metaphor.  How close is a word to the speaker of that word?  As close as a breath.  A word is an expression of the speaker, inseparable from the idea and intention of the speaker.  That is how close Jesus is to God.  As close as a mother is to her newborn baby.
           The beginning of something is very important.  From the beginning people who saw Jesus were seeing God with us.  That “the Word became flesh” is the most important claim of the Christian faith. The miracle of Christmas is that Jesus reveals in human form who God really is, and that God is with us and for us. Jesus was a baby, and the kisses and snuggles from his mother are part of the life of God.  His ordinary life and growing up, are part of the life of God.  His loneliness and suffering are a part of the life of God.  He washes us in a holy bath, and meets us at the holy table.  He is with us in every ordinary moment.
          John used poetry, and the image of light and dark, and the philosophical language of Logos, to describe the beginning.  Before the moment when God came into the world as a vulnerable infant to live a whole life, just as we do, John tells us that the real beginning was with God in the beginning of time.  And with the birth of Jesus we have a new beginning. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
  • If a room is dark, how much light do you need to change it into a room with light?
  • Does a word mean something different depending on how you say it?  Try saying the word Love in different ways, using different voices.  Does it mean something different than when you say it in your real voice?
  • What does it mean to be a child of God?
  • What do we know about God from looking at Jesus?
Mother Anne+