I haven't done a very good job of updating my blog. I have lots of ideas floating around in my head for blog posts, but I never take the time to actually sit down and just get them out. I suppose it's a discipline just like everything else.

Today being Christmas, I did some reflecting on the Christmas story, but mainly over John 1:1-18. Having grown up in the church, the Christmas story becomes all too familiar over the years, and, I'll admit, loses some of its significance in my life.

But after doing an in-depth study on the Trinity this past semester in youth group, I have a greater awe and appreciation for what God did when he sent his One and Only Son to this earth in the form of a baby. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning...10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent,[c] nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
 14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only,[d] who came from the Father, full of grace and truth...18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,[e][f]who is at the Father's side, has made him known. - John 1:1-2, 10-14, 18 NIV

It's so clear in this passage that Jesus, whom God sent, is God--God in human flesh. This is obviously very Trinitarian language. The part I've been focusing on is verse 14:

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

In the Old Testament, God dwelled outside Israel's camp in the Tent of Meeting. He was far too holy for the Israelites to live in his presence, so he lived near them, but away from them. The Hebrew word for dwell was "to tent." So literally, God tented himself outside the Israelite camp.

God so desperately wants to be in close relationship with us, that he decided to become one of us (The Word made flesh) and sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be born on earth. Jesus was both fully man and fully God, a concept that can be so difficult for us to grasp. So now the Word "made his dwelling among us" [emphasis mine]. God no longer simply lived near us; now he was among us--one of us. That just makes Christmas all that more amazing when I think that God loved us so much that he became one of us just to be near us--that's some real love right there. Jesus was God born to die to reconcile us so that we could be blameless and perfect in God's sight--made holy so that we could be with Him. 

Then Jesus ascended into Heaven after his death and resurrection (something he had to do), so that the Father could send the Holy Spirit to dwell in each believer. It blows me away to see how God's amazing plan to draw us closer to him has been in action since the beginning of time. I just never realized it to this extent until recently. 

First, God dwelled near us. Then, God dwelled among us. Now, God dwells in us. 

Jesus' first coming was highly anticipated by the Old Testament believers (just look at all the prophecies). And now we are to be eagerly anticipating his second coming. That's what this Christmas season should be reminding us of--just how much the world anticipated the coming of this Christ-child. Our anticipation for his return should be at that same level, but oftentimes I think we forget about what we should be looking toward. God is dwelling in us right now so that we can carry on his work--his perfect plan--to bring all people to know him and to make him known. 

I'm excited that the passage for the Urbana Student Missions Conference next week is this John 1 passage as well. The theme is The Word Made Flesh. This has been like my theme for the year...or at least this second half of 2009. I still can't believe I never realized how the entire Bible fits together! I'll talk more about that later in another post where I can share how excited I am to be doing publicity for Phil Vischer (Creator of VeggieTales)'s new DVD series, What's In the Bible?

So recognizing that God is now dwelling in us and that we should live in anticipation of his return, does that change the way you're living today?


Angela Rose said...

this is great!

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