Today's Lectionary Text
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
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.
In both my post-Christmas 2018 reflections and my hopes for 2019, John 1:10 keeps coming to mind. “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.” I paraphrase the text slightly and read it questioningly as Christ was in Jeff, and Jeff came into being through Christ; yet Jeff did not know Christ. And as much as I don’t want it to be, I sometimes fear this to be true.
o much energy went into planning Advent and Christmas Eve and Christmas celebrations in both the church I serve and with my family. There were checklists and piles and plans and rehearsals. And now it has come and gone, and the calendar has turned to 2019. Now that I’m on the other side of all of those celebrations, I wonder if my life is any different than it was before. I wonder if people around me would say that I know and show the love of this Christ-child whose birth we celebrate. I celebrate Christ’s birth, but I wonder if it makes a noticeable difference. As I reflect, I hope people in the church I serve, people in the community around me, and most importantly those closest to me – my spouse, my kids, and my family – see evidence of Christ born in me.
I suspect the same may true for many of you reading this on the first weekend of the New Year. You may hope your life would reflect the hope of the Christ who has come, who will come again, and who desires to be born in our hearts daily. You may have this hope, but also worry or wonder if it is so.
And so, I pray that we might all continue to shape our lives around the transformative love of God in Christ who created and continues to create within us and around us. May we continue to grow in Christ-likeness that all might see the gift of Christ born in us.
-Rev. Jeff Clinger
Topeka First United Methodist
Prayer for Reflection
Dear God, we are grateful for the gift of your son born among us but confess that we often get busy and rush and fail to fully live the good news of Christmas. May we continue to be aware of and open to you that we might reflect your likeness to the world around us.
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