We Have Seen His Glory


John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” Jesus, however, did both. He chose to join the human race which already occupied this planet. He chose the very woman who would give him birth. It is a miracle that in Jesus, God became man. It is the glory of God that he did it in this humble way.

You and I would have started over, I believe. God made the first man out of the dust of the ground. There was plenty of dust left where that came from. Or he could have started by creating new and improved dust. At least then he wouldn’t have to be associated with the sketchy clan of ruffians and slackers who had made such a mess of earth’s neighborhood.

If he actually had to attach himself to this clan of humanity, and he did, at least we would have chosen a prominent family, one that could afford some of the things that make life a little easier and more pleasant. We would not have chosen a family that had managed to create its own riches to rags story, one that took itself from royalty to obscurity.

That’s not how we operate. We scratch to get ahead. We press for every advantage. Would you choose the broken down car when a better one was available for the same price? Would you pick the bruised and rotting fruits or vegetables at the grocery store? We look out for number one. We demand the best. Let’s be serious–like our first parents we aspire to be gods! And that is what got us into this mess of sin and unbelief and damnation in the first place.

Jesus got his flesh from the real human race. He adopted everything that goes along with being human. This time of year he caught colds, maybe even the flu. His nose ran, and his throat was so sore he could hardly swallow, and maybe a fever kept him home from synagogue school. Fatigue, pain, hunger, even death–he knew it all, with the single exception of sin.

The humility is easy to see–the stable, the manger, the humanity. But didn’t John write, “We have seen his glory…” Where do we see that?

Remember, Jesus’ story isn’t just the story of a poor boy who lived a special life. This is the Word made flesh, the eternal Son of God who existed before the world. This is the One and Only who came from the Father. This is your God who came to save you.

On this first page of John’s gospel, God lets us see what so many others can’t. There have always been two kinds of people. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, could meet Mary at the beginning of Mary’s pregnancy and know immediately that she was carrying her Lord and Savior. God revealed it to her, and by faith she received that revelation. The people of Bethlehem could meet Mary at the end of her pregnancy and sense no such thing about the baby she was carrying. The shepherds could look into the manger and recognize the baby as Christ, their Lord. Later the wise men visited the little boy and bowed down to worship their God. These all listened to what God had told them. King Herod saw in Jesus only a problem. You know the true identity of your infant God from his word. Most of our world stays home at Christmas not knowing, or not believing, in the One who makes the day special: God in the flesh, the One and Only who came from the Father, our Savior, Christ the Lord.

So this is the kind of God you have. He isn’t just the high and mighty King, untouchable and unapproachable in his glory. Because he loves you, he makes it possible for you to come close to him and talk to him as a friend. Because he loves you, he came close to you, and became one of you, clothed in human flesh and blood he would sacrifice for your sins. Still he lives among you in his word. Still he visits you in his supper with a promise of his grace. He makes his home with you, not as a visible resident of your city or neighborhood, but as the occupant of your very heart, the place he has made his temple by faith.

This is the kind of God I can trust. This is the kind of God I can love. This is the kind of God I can follow wherever he leads. And marveling at his humility on Christmas Day, understanding his identity revealed in his word, we can see his glory, too.

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