The Standard December 10, 2020
To begin his gospel, the disciple John introduces us to Jesus, The Word and God incarnate, as life and light. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:9-14)
How could it have been that Jesus’ own people did not recognize him or receive him? The Israelites were taught from an early age to be on the look-out for the promised Messiah. Jewish leaders were educated about the words of the Old Testament prophets and what they foretold regarding the coming Savior.
One problem for those living in Nazareth was that they knew Jesus and his parents and therefore naturally might have assumed that Jesus was born there in the region of Galilee. Certain religious scholars believed that no one would know the location from where the Messiah had come. Other Jewish experts interpreted the prophet Micah as foretelling that Israel’s Anointed One or Deliverer would be from Bethlehem in Judah. “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) Jesus claiming to be divine would have seemed like a major contradiction for religious leaders from either school of thought. Many people in his community probably had no idea that Jesus actually was born in Bethlehem, due to the Roman census.
It is ironic and quite a shame that many of those who should have been the most prepared for the Messiah could not see Jesus for who he was. It would be a pity for us to fail to see Jesus this Christmas season or for us to allow his coming to be overshadowed by much less important things.
Many of us will have fewer events and gatherings to attend in the next few weeks due to the spread of COVID-19. Hopefully, we will be able to take more time to focus on the birth of Christ. Bible reading, family devotionals and the use of an Advent wreath with daily readings are all excellent ways to prepare for Christ’s coming. Watching “The Nativity Story” or listening to various Christmas hymns and carols or Handel’s Messiah also would be time well spent. Let’s not miss out on Jesus this season.