Scripture – John 1: 1-14
In the beginning was the Word, the Logos, Ultimate Reality, the primordial template for everything that is. This Logos was part of God, was God, has been from the beginning. With these words, John takes us back to the beginning of Genesis, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
16.8 billion years ago, something happened, something we do not understand, an explosion of energy maybe; we call it The Big Bang. I think of it as God’s love energy breaking forth and becoming matter. The Franciscans call it the first incarnation, when spirit first became matter. God, who is infinite love, incarnates that love as the universe itself, beginning with The Big Bang. The first incarnation was the moment described in Genesis 1, when God joined in unity with the physical universe and became the light inside of everything.
With modern’s telescopes, scientists now look back in to the time right after The Big Bang; and see the various stages that led up to us: living, sentient beings, on an insignificant planet that has just the right conditions just sustain life as we know it.
I don’t pretend to understand the physics, chemistry and biology behind the science of creation, or if you prefer of cosmology. I’m drawing here on teachings from a scientist, philosopher and theologian called Philip Clayton.
From bang to concious lfe
Right after the Big Bang, the cosmos expanded rapidly. There was only background radiation, a form of energy. 380,000 years later, after The Big Bang the universe was a cold dark fog of hydrogen and helium atoms. Less than 400 million years later it had begun to shine with the light of infant galaxies somewhere in between the first stars had formed. Heavier elements like carbon oxygen and iron were formed in the cores of the stars. As these stars decayed and died, all the other elements were formed and they are the basis for everything we see and know today. The energy which formed the big bang, God’s energy, love energy, was transformed to create matter.
Christmas – the time was right
And 16.8 million years after The Big Bang, just 2000 years before now, the time was right, as the book of Colossians tells us, for the second incarnation, the second emergence of the divine in creation. And the Word, which was with God and was God in the beginning, became flesh.
The first Christmas is not just a 2000 year old story of a man and a woman and a baby, joined by some shepherds and later some wise men. And it wasn’t God’s intervention to save humanity from our sinful ways. It was a cosmic event which had been unfolding for nearly 17 billion years and it’s still unfolding today.
God’s Plan for God’s creation
The coming of the Christ was not God’s Plan B because Adam and Eve sinned by eating an apple. It was God’s plan A, to show the divine love that permeates every created thing. The message of Christmas is that God loves everything in creation, that God loves each one of us, and that God is love. God’s love is the energy of which all things are made. The created is part of the divine love, and divine love is in each one of us and in all creation.
Matter and spirit have always been one ever since God manifested God self in the first act of creation. Jesus came to reveal that this dualism of the spiritual and the secular is untrue and incomplete; the spiritual and and to show God’s love to us. That man, Jesus, indeed that Baby, Jesus, was fully God and fully human and personally demonstrated God’s radical unity with humanity.
“We are all meant to be Mothers of God”
On this Christmas Day, we’re not just celebrating the birth of the little baby Jesus; we are in fact welcoming the universal Christ the cosmic Christ, the Christ that is forever being born in the human soul and into history. I end today by quoting the words of Meister Eckhart, a 15th century theologian and mystic, as paraphrased by biblical scholar Michael Fox: what good is it to me if Mary gave birth to the son of God 1400 years ago and I do not give birth to the son of God in my own person and time and culture? … We are all meant to be mothers of God.