“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-5, NIV)
How to describe the language in the gospel of John’s prologue. Poetic? Mystical? It is assuredly beautiful. Sometimes, this exquisite and mysterious language causes us to place it in the category of otherworldliness.
This scripture from John’s gospel is not an account of the birth of Christ like we find in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Most often, this scripture is interpreted as a mystical statement of the divinity and incarnation of Christ: the Word (the Logos), who had been with God from the beginning, was made flesh. Even though the stories of Christ’s birth found in Matthew and Luke are more familiar to us, it’s a mistake to assign John’s prologue to a place on the shelf reserved for inexplicableness.
The prologue to John’s gospel is allied with the first part of Genesis. Both Genesis and John’s gospel tell of creation and God’s coming to earth.
In Genesis 1:27, there is this familiar, yet astonishing statement: “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” We are made in the image of God!
Then John expands the astonishment by saying that the Word, Jesus Christ, “became flesh” and lived on earth as we do! Jesus came to earth from God; each newly born child will come from the same God!
Though the scripture from John’s gospel is not the traditional story of the birth of Christ, John takes Jesus’s birth (and every birth) to a deeper level. Birth is a vehicle for bringing God to earth. This happens every time a child is born. Each new parent will see a child made in God’s image–not divine as Jesus was–but still a child of God who has become flesh.
When a newborn comes out of the darkness, the light of the child will, in that moment, overcome the darkness.
Taken from A TIME TO BE BORN: Meditations on the Birth of a Child.