URC Daily Devotion 26 December 2023

26 December 2023


John 1: 1 – 18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being  in him was life,  and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.  The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.  (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.”’)  From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart,  who has made him known.


There is at least one bilingual road sign in Wales which makes sense in English, but for which the Welsh, when translated back into English, reads, “Thank you for emailing the translation department.  We will respond to your email when we reopen on 19 October”.  Likewise, someone who asked for a tattoo of the Mandarin symbol for “live and let live”, instead got “sweet and sour chicken”. 
Translation isn’t risk-free, and translation is what we need to make sense of John’s gospel.  God was searching for a way to translate God’s life and purpose into something that we could understand, and that was Jesus.  The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory.

What John is concerned with is the big picture, the cosmic significance of what’s going on here.  This is no small-town deity pushed to the edge and trying to get a mention in the local newspaper.  This is the God whose light has been travelling towards us from the Big Bang for 13.7 billion years at a speed of 186,000 miles per second.  This is a God of extraordinary scale, emerging from the mists of space-time and pouring God’s life and purpose into a human life, the life of Jesus bar-Joseph, carpenter from Nazareth.  One life, lived so close to God, so saturated in God, that very soon people who’d known him were saying he must have been the Son of God.  

God has translated God’s life and purpose into something we could understand, and we do the same when we reflect God’s strategy of deep engagement, and when our lives demonstrate that love.  In Jesus, God has moved in, lived deep, and shared our lives.  God calls us to do the same in our own sphere of life and influence, however small or great.


Living Word, thank you for coming into our world.
Shine your light into my life this Christmas,
and may I live as a true child of God,
in praise of your glory.




Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins, minister of the Spire Church, Farnham, and Elstead United Reformed Church, and Clerk of the General Assembly.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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