This morning’s gospel passage (John, 1: 1-18) is what is known as the Prologue – the “pre-word” introducing all that the Evangelist John has to say about Jesus, the Christ. His gospel is different from the other three. Written later and influenced by Greek thought, we hear in John a much more philosophical/theological bent than that of Mark, Matthew and Luke with more long discourses and more emphasis on the divinity rather than the humanity of Christ. All of this is already evident in the passage that we have this morning even though John is speaking of the same event that we celebrate as the incarnation. The core truth in this reading is two-fold:
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. AND What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
This reminds me of a famous passage by the great 20th century theologian Thomas Merton about the fact that God chose to come among us as one of us, “a member of the human race,” he says, ” a race that is given to many absurdities…” Merton talks about the same reality as John regarding the light that Jesus brought to the human race by being with us. Speaking of the transformation that is possible if only we will recognize our true nature, Merton says, “If only I could tell them that they are all walking around shining like the sun!” So today, whether or not the sun is shining in the sky, I plan to look for the Christ-light in the faces and energy of the people I encounter and hope that they see it shining back at them through me.