Light and Flesh
John 1:1-14

Let me start by wishing you all a blessed and joyous Christmas!  It’s great to be here with you this morning celebrating again the birth of our Lord and Saviour who is the word who became flesh and lived among us AND the light that shines in the darkness.

Do you still wonder and marvel at the way the one true all powerful and amazing God sent his son, who like God the Father is truly God, to be born of a human, just like you and I, flesh and blood?  At times the thought of that taking place is a little overwhelming, yet we know it to be the truth, we celebrate it every Christmas and throughout the year as well.

God’s gift to us was a saviour, his own son, set apart for a task that not one of us would ever volunteer for, it involved surrendering to his Father’s will and suffering for our sake.  But that’s why he needed to be flesh and blood like you and I, so that he could see, live and experience life like we do, so that we could relate to him and see that what life in the flesh is like.  Each and every one of us is very much flesh and blood to.  When we cut ourselves we know that we bleed, we know what pain is like because we’ve all experienced it, and so has Jesus.

He came to us in the middle of our darkness a world full of sin and suffering to bring light and hope and still brings light and hope to us.  Darkness still exists in our world physically and metaphorically.  In some ways darkness and suffering can go hand in hand.  Those of us who have been through some kind of suffering would probably be able to testify to feeling as though the lights had been turned off around us, that things seemed dark and damp and unappealing.  So the light of Christ coming in to that world is like light shining in our darkness.

In some ways in the last few weeks I’ve been a little bit envious of people in the Northern Hemisphere, they are in the midst of their darkest and coolest part of the year.  My son Matt was in Helsinki last week for instance, we all know that December 21st is the shortest day of the year in the North, and in Helsinki the sunrise is officially 9:25am and sunset at 3:14pm, that’s less than six hours of daylight!  I’d been thinking how easy it would be to preach about the light of Christ coming in the middle of all that darkness.  The metaphor works so well in that part of the world, people are experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder, bouts of depression often brought on by winter conditions and the lack of sunlight.  The world is dark around them and they need the light of Christ proclaimed to bring hope to their cold and damp world.

Then as I thought and reflected I realised that we should be rejoicing that we have the opposite!  Here in the Southern Hemisphere we’re in the middle of the brightest, warmest and perhaps most inviting part of the year.  Today in Melbourne the sunrise was 5:56am and it won’t set until 8:43pm tonight!  That’s around 14 hours of daylight, and this year it’s even warm.  So in the midst of our lightest and brightest season we celebrate again the light of Christ coming into our world.  We are in effect celebrating the adding of light to light, giving us intense light! 

During the Christmas season even with all the light that is around the place there are still plenty of people who are affected by depression, often accentuated be being away from family or friends, those who are estranged or separated involuntarily especially so.  These people need the light of Christ in their life as much as anyone else if not more.  Then of course there are those who are yet to ‘see the light’ those who have not heard or believed the good news of Jesus Christ.  What better time of year do we have to bring the message of the word become flesh dwelling among us and the light that comes into our darkness?

In the middle of all the other celebrations and festivities that are predominantly focussed on gift giving and food there is opportunity to say, but wait there’s more!  Even some of us need to hear that too, we get caught up in all of the trimmings of the festivities and forget to come and receive the gift of Christ at Christmas.

As we gather this morning we receive the word become flesh as we take part in Holy Communion.  There is no more tangible expression in our day of the word become flesh than in the body and blood of Christ that we receive in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.  As we do so we receive forgiveness of sins and are prepared for our journey out there in the world, knowing and living in the light of Christ.  Through that we are able to be the light of Christ in the world for others, sharing his message, living lives of love and joy and hope so that others can see light in their darkness too.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word become flesh shine in you continuously throughout this day, this week and throughout the New Year, may his flesh and blood continue to sustain you and give you all that you need for life and faith and hope.