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Christmas,  Taking a Closer Look

The Word Became Flesh

A word is a separate thing from that which it describes. It is also linked by meaning to the thing it describes. Meaning unites the word and its object inseparably. A rose is a rose is a rose. The object gives meaning to the word and the word becomes inseparable from the object. One can no longer exist without the other.

This is so true, that it is safe to say that no thing or concept can exist in our minds without us naming it. How can we have a discussion about pride (or prejudice for that matter!) without having a word to describe it? Words are the means by which we interpret reality to ourselves and communicate reality to others.

By definition, words are vessels by which truth can be shared. Trying to share the truth without words is impossible. Even where deeds, such as acts of kindness, are used to share the truth of love, words are still essential to the reception and understanding of that truth. “He cares for me.” There is no way to grasp or appreciate all that that statement means without wrapping up the vast implications of that statement in a simple four-letter word: love.

And love is essentially what God is trying to communicate. God’s word to us is Christ. His word to us is boundless love in a human package that we can understand and relate to.

Jesus said “I am the truth.” This tells us a great deal about who Jesus is, which is his purpose in saying it, but it also tells us a lot about the nature of truth. Truth is apprehendable. We can see it, perceive it, and grasp it. It is God’s gift to us that He has placed truth within our reach through the word of Christ. Truth is eternal. We can rely on it. It is not fleeting and changeable but solid and reliable. Truth is inexhaustible. We can never get to the bottom of the truth. There is always more to see and more to learn.

A word without an object is meaningless, nothing but noise and nonsense. This is what Christ was referring to when he said, “Apart from the Father, I can do nothing.” In the same way, we ourselves are meaningless without a similar existential attachment to God the Father. We are all his children, orphaned and meaningless without him, but beloved and infused with meaning when united with him by Christ.

We are words in search of a definition. Our work, our families, our hobbies, cannot define us. We are only defined in unity with our Creator, whose purpose we were made to reflect.

We are now God’s word to the world, the only Bible some people read. But more than that, we reflect the essence of God as we define him to the world by how we live. As we take on his meaning, we reflect his glory to the world and so bring truth to each other.


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