And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
(John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.
John 1: 14-18
A number of years ago my wife and I were living in Houston, TX. There was a Presbyterian conference in town and we learned of a couple of online friends who needed a place to stay. We were happy to offer our guest bedroom and a sleeper sofa that was actually more comfortable if you used the mattress from it directly on the floor.
One of our guests, Karen, was doing a lot of traveling and networking at the time and was looking for somewhere to stay for several weeks. We had a big enough house and we were happy to extend our invitation as long as needed.
We hadn’t planned on a roommate or a house guest, but it turned out to be a very enriching experience. We enjoyed having someone else at the dinner table, another friendly face for our two year old son to interact with, someone to learn about and to share our stories with, a visitor to introduce to our city. We were blessed by her company and it made us feel good about sharing hospitality with someone else.
As I reflected on today’s passage from John, I remembered how the Message translates the beginning of verse 14.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
Too often we can think of the incarnation in grand theological and supernatural terms, but this passage has a literal and figurative down to earth quality about it. The author of the gospel of John uses language that suggests physical relocation. The Greek word translated as flesh has a very visceral feel to it. The phrase lived among us is more literally translated as set up a tabernacle or tent.
So I wonder during this time of year, when we remember the day God moved in, what it might be like for us to open our homes and lives to dwell with others more freely. Not just the Christmas party that we clean and stress and prepare for. How do we share space with those around us in a way that lets us be near and bump lives together more often?
A prayer for this day:
Neighbor God, help me open my home, my space, my life to live more freely and closely with others. Amen.
Rev. Shawn Coons (MA/M. Div., 2001)
Fairview Presbyterian Church