by Bruce Gilberd

(Based on John 1:1-14)

Some of you know I sometimes just walk around town here in Tairua, to see if anyone wants to talk, to share a general or personal matter.  Conversation often starts with the weather or the news.  Then it may be health.  Then family.  Then how fortunate we are to live in this natural, and supportive, environment.
But it often stops there.  Usually – not always.  For many it is a high step up to further the conversation, from delighting in creation, and a possible creator, to considering whether that same creator has disclosed himself in history.
Which is why we are here tonight – to celebrate a surprising and wondrous birth.

And what a surprise it was – not least to Joseph and Mary.

But there were more surprises to come.  A catalogue of them.
– the questioning, wise twelve-year-old child;
– the hectic three years of ministry punctuated with solitude and prayer;
– the inclusion of all kinds of outsiders – those on the fringe;
– the frequent searing challenges to those on power, both religious and political leaders;
– the surprised, anguished disciples as their leader embraced the cross;
– the supreme surprise of the resurrection, and all that means for all humanity.

Surprises, and threaded into them: wonder!

But as I chat with my friends around town, these surprises can be difficult to introduce into the conversation as we celebrate the beauty and wildness of creation, and how this same creator became one of us in history; in Jesus of Nazareth.  That is not so easy for me.  This disclosure that God is Christ-like, that Christ is both creator and reconciling liberator, is a big step for many of us.

I hope we are all working on how to respectfully deepen our conversations!

Back to tonight’s Gospel reading:
St John, writing about the identity and significance of Jesus, the Christ:  “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What came into being in him was life and the life was the light of all people,”

Jesus – the Christ, the Messiah, the Word, the Creator – was birthed amongst what he had made, this world, so he was at home here, and acted to liberate humanity from all that spoils life here.

Creator and reconciler:  Christ is both.  He became flesh and lived amongst us, and still does.

What a joy!

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