John Huffman, the minister 40 years ago at the church I now serve, told about hosting a staff Christmas luncheon in his home. They had a “white elephant” gift exchange, and were all laughing and having a good time until it all came to a stop.
One person picked a gift bag, reached in, and pulled out a little baby Jesus in a manger. They were all stunned. Who would put the baby Jesus in a white elephant gift exchange? But then they noticed that it looked like the baby Jesus in the nativity set on their living room table. John’s wife, Anne, checked, and sure enough, the baby Jesus figurine was missing. Somehow it had fallen off the table and into a gift bag. They all had a good laugh and put the baby Jesus back where it belonged.
John said, “The more I thought about it, this little incident was quite telling. So often Jesus is relegated to a kind of “white elephant” status at Christmas. Not central to the celebration at all.
The Christmas story we love the most is from Luke. Luke gives us shepherds, angels, and the baby Jesus in the manger. We love Luke.
And then there’s John.
No angels, no shepherds, and no baby.
John begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Greek word for “word” is logos. It’s where we get the word logic.
In other faiths the logic is, follow the rules, and if you’re good enough, you might please God. But John says that Jesus is the logic of God. Instead of rules, you get a person who wants to have a relationship with you.
John says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
The infinite became finite. The inaccessible became accessible. The immortal became mortal. You could touch him; hold him; you could feel his breath on your cheek.
That’s the logic of God.
And John says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”
We’re the children in this story.