I like to imagine the faces of those who first hear the opening verses of John’s Gospel. What they hear must astonish them. In the highest philosophical language of their Greco-Roman culture, John declares that the Divine Word, present before the beginning of all else, has become incarnate. And that is not all. To everyone who wishes, the Word made flesh will give us power to become children of God. The listeners stare in rapt attention. Their faces fill with wonder.

Their expressions of wonder reflect precisely what John offers: the portrait of a nearly inexpressible wonder. He does this with captivating images: vast darkness and inextinguishable light; a person rejected, not known by the world yet shining with glory and still bringing that glory into the world. John’s words grip those early listeners, hold them still. This has always been so for this passage. It shows no shepherds, no wise men. It offers no angel song. We cannot shape it into an enticing Christmas pageant with costume-clad children and Mary, Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. John shows none of this, yet his vast panorama pulses with the same world-changing truth as the Christmas narratives of Matthew and Luke. We know what occurs when this passage is read carefully in worship at Christmas. It happens every time. All who are listening fall silent.

That silence points the way to our own appropriate response. In quietness, we can take time to absorb what John shows here. Shall we perhaps read the passage again, very slowly? Perhaps we just sit with the wonder. We need not try to do anything. Let the wonder take hold of us within. Let God, through the wonder, work in us however God wills.

O Loving God, open us to this wonder you have given. Work within us and shape us according to your will. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Luke 2:22-40

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Leccionario Semanal
December 21–27, 2020
Resumen de la Escritura

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we do so with cries of praise to God. Isaiah delights and rejoices in God, who will bring reconciliation to all nations. Psalm 148 declares that all of creation praises the Lord, for creation knows who formed and sustains it. Paul explains to the Galatians that God sent Jesus to redeem us, and as a result we may now call out to God as God’s children. In the Gospel reading, Luke sets the story of Jesus within the history of the Israelites. Both Simeon and Anna are devout people, filled with the Holy Spirit. They have been praying for God to send the Redeemer, and God gives them insight to recognize him as Jesus. Praise be to God for this indescribable gift!

Preguntas para la reflexión

Read Isaiah 61:10–62:3. How do you yearn for righteousness? How do the prophet’s words give you hope?
Read Psalm 148. Pause and consider the joy of God’s coming salvation for the whole world.
Read Galatians 4:4-7. Consider your identity as a child of God through Christ. What joy does this identity bring you?
Read Luke 2:22-40. How can you, like Anna, joyously proclaim the freedom and redemption Christ brings all of humanity?

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