At my congregation we are wrapping up our series on the St. John's prints with, of course, John 1. I'm not the world's biggest fan of John, on the whole, but chapter one cannot be beat. The trouble is, it's very difficult to say anything ABOUT it, because talking about poetry is as hard as talking about music.
Likewise, there is much about the Incarnation that is best left to poets and musicians. As soon as we get into heavy discussions of historicity, we've lost much of the beauty of it. God's intention, as far as I'm concerned, far outweighs the mechanics of how Christ came into the world. (And while I don't want to reduce John 1 to a "point," that does seem to be one of them).
One interesting reading of John 1 (thanks, Mary Hinkle Shore) puts the phrase "he gave power to become the children of God" at the center of this chapter. God's gift, the telos of this incarnation, is to make us children of God. It's an intriguing reading, one I want to follow for December 30, because we also have 3 baptisms in our congregation that day, and it seems to me that our theology of baptism too often suffers from the same un-poetic thinking that we apply to the Bible. Instead of hearing the grace, the gift of baptism, too often people jump to the logic of it: "But what about those who are not baptized? What about babies that die before they are?" and so on. We humans have a gift, it seems, for taking a thing of beauty and grace and wringing the life out of it.
May you receive this gift of beauty, of grace and truth, with mind and heart this Christmas. And sing like crazy. The artists got it right.