If this is your first time finding our daily Advent Devotional, you are encouraged to begin by reading the introduction of this guide, here.
The 1st Day of Advent
John 1:1-4; 12-14
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
12But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Where Matthew and Luke begin their gospels with a birth narrative, John starts his gospel before the dawn of creation—before, in fact, the beginning of time itself. With vocabulary reminiscent of Genesis, he reminds us that the story of Jesus does not begin with his birth in a stable in Bethlehem or even with the angelic visitation announcing his future birth. The story of the Christ has no beginning.
Genesis starts, “In the beginning, God…” similarly John’s first phrase, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Greek word translated beginning, ???? (arch?), can refer to a point at the beginning of a span of time. But it can also refer to one who constitutes a first cause or origin. It is commonplace for John to use expressions that can be interpreted in more than one way. He does it often enough that it must be deliberate. Here we find him using a term that can be understood both as in the beginning of history and at the root of the universe. John is telling us both that there was never a time when the Word was not and that there was never a thing which did not depend upon Him for its very existence. Genesis begins by affirming an eternal God. John begins by affirming the same thing in the eternal Second Person of the Trinity.
The Word of God is the means by which God’s thoughts are communicated to us. Jesus Christ is the most comprehensive expression of the nature of God that mortal human beings can take in. As we begin yet another Advent season, let us not forget, with the many distractions of shopping, decorating, family gatherings, holiday parties, travel, and all the rest, that at its sacred heart, Christmas commemorates the Grand Miracle, the Incarnation—God becoming flesh.
Questions to Ponder
- C.S. Lewis wrote, “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this.” Spend a few moments contemplating how the many miracle stories in the Bible relate to The Grand Miracle.
- What does John 1:1-14 have to say to the person who asserts that Jesus never claimed to be divine and was, in fact, only a good and moral teacher?
- Look back at John 1:12-13: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” Rejoice this Christmas season as you reflect on the coming of your Redeemer! The One who has made you a child of God. How can you spread this good news to those around you this Christmas season?