Begotten from Before the Beginning

A Homily for the Second Sunday of Christmas

Texts: Jeremiah 31:7-14; Ephesians 1:3-14: St. John 1:1-18


Grace to you and peace from God our Heavenly Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, the Incarnate Word. Amen.

From before time and space, Christ is. The Only-Begotten Son of God is the One Through Whom All Things Are Made. Christ is the Word spoken by God to create the entire cosmos. And now, in the fullness of time, this same Word has descended from the right hand of the Father to become one of us.

The entirety of the Incarnation defies our attempt to understand it – that the Jesus is fully God and fully human? That the Son and the Father are both fully and entirely God – not two gods or different aspects of one God but two persons of a Blessed Trinity? That God would step down from the heavenly throne to become one of us? That this God, having already condescended to become human, would choose to live not in a palace in the heart of a major empire but as a common laborer among a conquered people?

The One who is begotten of God, light from light, has entered the dismal darkness of fallen creation, but the darkness did not overcome it.

Not for lack of trying. The world was born into the brutal shadow of the Roman Empire. Christ met the hungry, the destitute, the dying, the possessed, the disinherited. He faced down temptation and Satan. And there is a moment where it seems like the powers of sin and death will win. The noon sky will go black. Jesus will be sealed into the dismal tomb.

But on the third day, before dawn, while it is still dark, everything will change when the One born in Bethlehem becomes the Firstborn from Among the Dead.

Here is the glory of God, the Word made flesh, revealing the majesty of the Triune God, pouring forth grace upon grace.

Here is the one who brings hope to the remnant of Israel. Here is the one who leads the people forth with consolations to walk by brooks of water and in straight paths. Here is the one who will gather Israel back and keep him as a good shepherd tends the flock. Here is the one who has ransomed and redeemed the heirs of Abraham! Here is the one who will blesses the hungry with grain, wine, and oil, who waters us like a garden to never languish again! Behold the one who makes the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and old to be merry. Behold and rejoice with the one who turns our mourning into joy, who comforts us with gladness in our sorrow.

Here is the one who redeems us through his blood, who obtains for us an inheritance. Ages upon ages ago, the Lord made a covenant to bless all the nations of the world through Abraham’s descendants. And here is Abraham’s greatest Son, come to make us heirs of that glorious promise.

Look now! See these waters, by which you have been saved! Here, at this font, you were baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection. Here, you were born again as children of your Father in Heaven. Here, you were made heirs to the promise made to Abraham and Sarah. Here are the waters blessed by Christ when he descended into the Jordan to be baptized by John. Here, we died to sin that we might live forever with Christ, letting our light shine before others that they may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.

Here is the one who is the Word of God, the Light of the World, God-Made-Man. Here is Immanuel, God-with-us, the Word dwelling among us, revealing the glory of God.

Blessed be God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Blessed be the Father who has chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world.

Blessed be the Spirit, through whom Christ was conceived, and who has sealed us in the true faith.

Blessed be the Son, Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word, for redeeming us through his blood, obtaining for us an inheritance as heirs, and for revealing the glory of God.

Amen.

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