The reflection below is based on the following Gospel Reading ~
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 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.
When Words are Made Flesh
There is little else in the world that can be more concrete in ones life then when words become flesh.
I love you: When we speak those words out loud for the first time it pushes us in to a relationship with another person. It is new chapter. It causes us to trust, to be vulnerable, to feel butterflies in our stomach, to make love, to kiss, to embrace, to want and need another person in a new and profound way – when the words ‘I love you’ become flesh everything is different.
She’s dead: No matter how expected or unexpected it was. Even if it released someone from pain. Whether you have sat there with the knowledge that a person has died for hours or whether it just happened moments ago it is when you speak it out loud that the reality seems to run in to your veins. – when the words ‘She’s dead or He’s dead’ become flesh, everything is different.
He hit me: Sometimes a secret that has been kept for so long, like abuse by a partner or a loved one. Secrets that have been unspoken for years – unspoken because to speak them outloud means to give them truth and thrust you in to a path that may not be as physically painful as a punch or a hit but you know will be the most painful journey to freedom that can ever be undertaken. – when the words ‘He hit me’ become flesh, everything is different.
It’s over: No matter how long you have tried. No matter what you have done. Whether it is the end of a relationship with a partner or the end of anything in your life that you have poured you heart and soul in to. Anything that has been so important to you that the very essence of your identity has been defined by it. It’s over – a final statement, a word made flesh, that will catapult you in to something new because something else can do nothing else but end.
You are my mommy. You are my daddy: We eagerly wait as parents for those words – dada, mama – regardless of the fact that we have had some of the hardest parenting days before our children can mutter a word – we wait, we encourage, we hope – for the words to become flesh and our position in an a child’s life to be solidified by the vocal declaration that yes – yes all of these sleepless nights and uncertainty that you have encountered in the past fourteen months or so – has been recognized by that little infant you brought in to the world who now gives you the validation that no one else could give you in the same way but that you have been waiting for like you have waited for very little else. When a child looks in to your eyes and says mama or dada… the word becomes flesh and you honour the fact that everything has changed and you have entered the life long vocation of parenting. Everything is different.
There many other words or statements that have the sinew and breath and flesh in them that can change your life – and it is not until you speak them out loud or hear them from the mouth of someone else that you recognize the power they hold.
I hate you. I got fired. I’ve been arrested. We are at war. I know what I want to be. I’m an alcoholic. I have cancer. I want to try again. I’m dying. I want a divorce. I’m pregnant. The war is over. Will you marry me.
When words become flesh, everything is different.
And we take words for granted most of the time. We ignore that words – because we use words everyday – direct most of what we do. We forget that there is very little else in our life that is more powerful then when words become flesh and change everything. Words spoken that take us in to places of vulnerability, connection, unconditional love, risk-taking, heart-wrenching grief, pain, joy, doubt, frustration, words that sometimes get us out of bed in the morning and words that get us through the stages of our day.
Our lives are at their very essence are a compilation of all of the words that have made our journey live out – the good, the bad and the ugly – and at the very heart of it all is this declaration that we begin with God. In the beginning was the word – not just the beginning of humanity but the beginning of you. Right at the beginning of who you are sits God. With you when you at your beginning, with you throughout the journey, and with you at your end.
Just as God shows up in an infant child who is born in a barn to demonstrate Gods desire to be part of the very essence of humanity, so too will God seek to be continually part of the very essence of our journey. All of it – not just the good stuff.
So when the word is made flesh everything is different. And when our words are made flesh remember that God lives amidst us with every breath we speak.
When our words are made flesh. When your words are made flesh remember that God lives among us. God sits right there with us deep at the core of our lives, at the very essence of all of our days. Seeking to be with us on the journey.
So I challenge you this Christmas Eve to say it out loud – maybe tonight when your head finally hits the pillow – say it out loud – God is with me, with me as I am right now, imperfections and doubt, joys and sorrows – say it whether you have shown up to church every Sunday of your life and you think you don’t have to say because you figure it should be a given. Say it if you are pretty sure you don’t believe in any of this and that you are quite sure that saying it won’t do a thing but at least you did what some strange priest asked you to do tonight – but say it out loud, live out the Christmas story:
“God is with me. Just as I am”
Give it a try.
Because when the words become flesh, everything might just be different.