The birth of Christ gives freedom, peace, and love

A Word that becomes flesh? What exactly does that mean? The key is found at the very beginning of John’s gospel. This famous prologue speaks about the logos who dwells among us. And that has a lot to do with Christmas.

Logos is a key concept, or as theologians say, the hermeneutical key, the beginning of learning to understand. It refers to the word of creation “Let there be!” Everything that humans see and understand is logos. In related terms such as logic, cosmology, or analogy some of these concepts come up. There is no philosophy without logos. And religion cannot do without it either. “In the beginning was the Word [or logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It was through this Word that everything came to be created: human beings, the world, life, and light.

But what does this have to do with Christmas, a day on which Christians across the world remember a little infant boy born in a dark night, far away, in an inhospitable region in what is today known as the West Bank? It is precisely here that world peace is being contested. Not only political or cultural systems are in conflict, but also the world’s religions which are related and claim the same logos.

God becomes man

In Christianity, the Logos is associated with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is part of the trinity of God and became man—the God who became man. All the important creeds of all religious denominations profess this. Jesus Christ is God and became man.

“We believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (æons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the virgin Mary, and was made man.”

Christmas reminds humanity that life has meaning, even if the reality of one’s own life indicates otherwise. Christmas makes it clear that fear, oppression, tyranny, and terror will end. Christ’s birth represents freedom, peace, and love. Although these motifs are diametrically opposed, the message of John’s prologue is clear: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1: 14).

This has far-reaching consequences.

  • When God comes to earth He does so out of interest for His creation!
  • When God speaks to us it is because He wants to improve us, save us, and redeem us!
  • Since God was a man, He knows all the mysteries that make humans human!
  • When God became man it was to be a teacher and a model for us humans who are inspired by Him!

Christmas is a mission

Christmas is therefore not a unique gift for everyone, but a mission for every single one of us. Christians follow Christ. They become disciples of their Master. Jesus Christ sends those who believe in Him into the world, just as the Father sent Him to proclaim the glory of God. What they do they do to glorify God and not to please other people. They are not so presumptuous to think that they embody the will of God, but out of love for God they are determined to conform to this will. Christians accept one another for the glory of God and aspire to unity.

In this spirit, we wish all people a peaceful and blessed Christmas 2022.

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Peter Johanning
Christmas, Divine service