First Sunday of Christmas — John 1:9-18
“ . . . to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become the 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.” (John 1:12-13, NRSV)
John the Evangelist uses believe to mean more than “intellectual assent.” It means intellectual recognition, but it also means trust. Belief in Jesus as the Word made flesh means that we don’t use a statement of belief as a set of magic words, but trust that Jesus was who He and the early Church said He was/is and in what God was doing and is doing in Him. We are willing to stake our lives and how we live them on the trust that God really did show up in a baby who became a Jewish contractor and who was executed and resurrected. We trust that we have not only been made “children of God” but that we have also received the power to live as such. We don’t do this naturally, or by trying hard, but by being “born from above,” as John says later (John 3:5-6). Being children of God is given to us as a gift from God. Living like we are comes from trust that God will give us the power to do so.
Incarnate Lord, we trust that You dwell among us and that we dwell in You. By the power of your Spirit, make our hearts like yours, and love others as you love us. Amen.
– Father Larry Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Falls City