Ever notice from an airplane window the forests down below? The trees seem to be hundreds of small solid shapes. They appear from a distance that we might be able to glide down to them, and possibly make a soft landing on the treetops. But we know better, for instead of being solid, they actually are millions upon millions of paper-thin leaves supported by delicate structures of branches and limbs, none of which are capable of supporting an airplane. A distant first glance may not reveal an accurate understanding of what we are really seeing.
This is what John is laying out for us in these five verses in John 1. The Word, as John begins, is not what we might think, but actually he is referring to Jesus, who was there with God in the very beginning of eternity. This little baby in the manger is also not what he may appear to be. He is not just another adorable baby, but one who, even only days old, is actually older than creation. The spirit of this baby shared a relationship with his father, God, so sacred that they were as one – while also separate.
Jesus, as Word, was given the authority to be God’s agent over all creation. Everything which was created was orchestrated by Jesus. All life was created through Him. Later Word materialized as that little baby Jesus in the manger. He was and is the source of life, and that life is the light of all human kind. Darkness, a disguise of sin, surrounded the light, but it could not overcome the light. It never will.
The next time you see trees from a distance, think about these first five verses in John 1. Think about the real revelation of that the little baby in the manger, compared with what might have been lesser understood then and still may be today. May your imagining and remembering these thoughts help you celebrate John’s birth announcement of Word becoming flesh – to show us how to live
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