We usually restrict Christmas Bible readings to the passages in Luke and Matthew. It’s all about the birth of a baby in Bethlehem, angels, shepherds, infancy stories, a wise man or two or three and it’s all marvelous stuff. But we shouldn’t miss the power of the Christmas narrative in John’s Gospel. It’s called the prologue and includes John 1:1-18. Whereas the Christmas story usually begins with the birth narrative, John goes all the way back to Genesis one attaching Jesus to that them when he writes, “In the Beginning was the Word.” This “word” was “with God and the word was God.” This eternal being then “became flesh.” That’s the incarnation.

In verse 4, this infant that became flesh is the “light of all people.” Verse 5 affirms that the darkness will never be able to extinguish this light of life. Further, it’s not just light in general, but in verse 9, it’s the “true light” that lightens every man. This light has come into the world in the person of Jesus Christ. Thus, Jesus claims later are clear. He said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The Gospels show us the Shekinah glory of Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration, John does not relate that event to us. As Van Harn says, “he (John) sees the glory of God in all Jesus says and does; supremely the hour for Jesus to be glorified is the crucifixion (12:23; 13:32; 17:1). Jesus shares God’s glory as an only son resembles his father. This is John’s favorite description for the relationship of Jesus and God.” He lights up the world!

The entire message of the Gospel of John is the true Gospel message. It’s the proclamation that the baby born in a stable was not just a baby of flesh and blood although he was true man. It was the Baby who was the only begotten of God and carries the same genetic deity of the Father. He goes in in verse 18 to say “no one has ever seen God.” We know that not even Moses was allowed to see God’s face. But then he follows with true meaning of Christmas. It’s Jesus, who existed in eternity past, who was with God in the very beginning, he is the one and only one who has revealed Him (God) to us. He makes God known to mankind through the incarnation and through His life, death and resurrection. The prologue of John’s Gospel fills out the Christmas story. It’s the radical explanation of Jesus’ name “God with us!” or Immanuel. This is the true meaning of Christmas, the truth which we are to preach at this time of year—and always. Light up your houses! Light up the streets! Light up the trees! Let His light shine!