The prologue to John (John 1:1-18) is the Christmas gospel. It reveals how shallow our view of Christmas is. That deep down, we must realize our love is more than practical and theological ideas about God and the nature of Jesus. It’s in every aspect of creation and our very humanity.
The Incarnation of Jesus and the Incarnation of Love
Christmas 1B | John 1:1-18
A Lutheran evangelist made a funny video a few years ago with a caricature of Martin Luther yelling at a couple of Anglicans for their stupid Christmas hymns. It’s really quite funny. You can find a link to it on the handout if you want to watch it.
But the Luther in the video makes a very compelling argument.
He’s complaining that the dominant Christmas carols in the world are Anglican and are very atmospheric. They catalog the animals at the birth scene and describe the weather patterns.
What this cartoon Luther wants is hymns about the power and beauty of the Incarnation. He wants the theology of the Incarnation Event to be center stage, not those beloved elements of the Christmas story: the hay in the manger and the quiet of the night.
I can totally relate.
All the greens and songs and presents and parties and good cheer seem like one giant community celebration, like an international birthday party. And then we all go home on the 26th and forget about it for another year.
We’ve thrown the party and given the gifts, but have we pondered the depth of God’s love? Or the profoundness of God’s mercy?
All this we love can seem so trivial next to the subject of our devotion. And really, could be a distraction from examining the emotional and spiritual depth of our faith.
In all those ways I think the cartoon Luther is completely and totally right.
And yet, he fails to see the greater point entirely.
The full text and audio may be downloaded above or here.