He came to bear witness, as a witness to introduce the Light, so that all might believe through him.
He was not the Light, but a witness to introduce the Light;
for the Light was coming into the world, the true Light that enlightens everyone.
He was in the world, and through him the world was made, the very world that did not know him.
He came to his own, yet his own people did not receive him; but to all who received him, he empowers to become children of God, for they believe in his name.
These are born, but not by seed, or carnal desire, nor by the will of man: they are born of God.
And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us; and we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father: fullness of truth and loving-kindness.
John bore witness to him openly, saying, “This is the one who comes after me, but he is already ahead of me, for he was before me.“
From his fullness we have all received, favor upon favor.
For God had given us the law through Moses, but Truth and Loving-kindness came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God, but God-the-only-Son made him known: the one, who is in and with the Father.
Part of our Christmas decoration is the nativity scene or the Belen based on Luke‘s narrative, the gospel this midnight mass. The gospel narrated: “While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her first born son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.“ To explain why there was no place for the baby Jesus in the inn, people imagined the innkeeper‘s refusal of Joseph and Mary who was heavy with child. This recalls God‘s complaint about his people Israel as narrated in the Book of Isaiah: “an ox knows it‘s owner, and an ass, it‘s master‘s manger; but Israel does not know, my people has not understood.“ And this is also what we find in the gospel of St. John that we have just heard:
“He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.“ In a way, the gospel of John shows us that the greatest Gift God has given, his son Jesus, was not received by many. From the beginning, such has been the response to the Son of God: “There was no room for them in the inn; and there was no room in the hearts of the people for Jesus.“
This reality of “no vacancy“ or “no admittance“ for Jesus in the hearts of people is not a thing of the past. It is still happening even as we celebrate Christmas today. Still many people overlook the main point of Christmas-celebrating the birth of Christ; that it is a special time in the church that invites us to welcome Jesus anew into our hearts. It is to welcome anew the One who has already been given to us, the one who “has made His dwelling among us“.
“There was no room for them in the inn. “There was only a space on a manger for Jesus. Indeed, all that is needed is a simple and small but open and receptive space on which Jesus can truly pitch his tent and stay. Let us then make room for Jesus in our lives. Amen.