May I interrupt your preparations for the annual squeeing over cute baby Jesus? I have something to say that’s kind of important.
And then comes that very famous bit in verse 14:
and the Word became flesh
because, well, yes, how else was he going to do it? that plan of his, to give us the right to become God’s children – this magnificent, generous, unbelievable plan to take sinful human beings and somehow make them fit for adoption into the family of the holy God – it was a plan that meant the Word becoming flesh, dwelling amongst us sinful humans, being rejected and killed by us sinful humans, so that he could atone for our sins and make it possible for us, through faith in his sacrifice, to become God’s adopted children.
The Word – as John told us a few verses earlier – was not just with God in the beginning, but he was God! and he became flesh so that he could bring about God’s plan to redeem mankind. As the angel told Joseph, the baby Mary was carrying was going to save his people from their sins. It was going to be very painful and costly – being born as a human baby was just one step along a very painful journey, which was to include suffering torture and public execution – all for us, out of love for us!
This is how God chose to show his love for us – by sending his only begotten Son into this world, the Word becoming flesh so that he could become our atoning sacrifice. That baby came to do a very specific job – one that no one other than God could do, and one that no one who isn’t as loving as God would choose to do.
Being born as a baby is normally a passive thing – you don’t get to choose your parents, you don’t even choose to be conceived in the first place. But this one – the one who features on Christmas cards and in nativity plays – had deliberately chosen it, had orchestrated the timing and location and chosen who his earthly parents would be, all to go with the prophecies in the Bible. He knew what he had to do. He was a baby with a mission: his mission was to die, so that we can have life.