The Wonder of God among Us

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NRSV)

Sometimes we read and hear Bible verses so often that we may forget to stop and ponder what they really mean. If we stop to think about what John 1:14 declares—and what we celebrate at this time every year—it’s astonishing. What can we ponder about John 1:14 for our lives today as Christ’s witnesses?

1. God became flesh.

The same Word—capital W—who created the universe and everything in it grew as an embryo in a mother’s womb! The mighty Word who spoke, “and there was light,” dwelt in the darkness! The eternal Word who appeared in a pillar of cloud and of fire, in prophets, in miracles, and in the care of little sparrows, roaring lions, and mighty mountains! This awesome, everlasting, all-powerful, all-knowing Word – God – came down, gave it all up to be with you, me, and our neighbours.

How are we “flesh and blood” in our neighbourhoods?

2. The Word dwells among us.

God sticks around. God comes, not just to visit us, but to move in. “Into the neighbourhood,” as Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message translation. God comes to hang out with us, in our ordinary, everyday lives and communities, to get to know us and to be with us.

How are we dwelling among and getting to know our neighbours?

3. And we beheld his glory, God’s glory!

God is no longer confined to the Holy of Holies, the mountaintop, the veiled face of Moses, or our buildings! In Jesus, God’s glory is on display for all to see, touch, and experience! We’re assured not only that God knows but also that God can be known! In Christ, “holiness” becomes humanity. Right next door, the Kingdom of God comes near, full of grace, truth, love, and humility.

But beholding isn’t the end of the flesh and glory story. In fact, the flesh and glory story doesn’t end with Christmas or even with Jesus’s resurrection and ascension. It continues in the lives—in the flesh—of those who believe and receive Christ.

Where is the Spirit—full of love, grace, and truth—present and active in your neighbourhood?

4. Those who have seen God’s glory are God’s glory in the flesh, now.

If we remain, as so many do, merely impressed and astonished at God among us, then we are mere observers of the good news. At best, we’re admirers responding as we would to an article about good news in the newspaper. Responding to the good news of Jesus in the flesh is part of the wonder, beauty, and challenge of ‘neighbourhood life.’

How do we not only discover God at work in our neighbourhoods but also embody God’s grace and truth?

“So that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:12).

In this Advent season, we long for You, we watch for You
Come Lord Jesus and dwell among us.
Awaken us to Your Presence
Your flesh and blood glory right next door.
Help us to discover and join the Spirit
Already at work in our midst and out ahead of us
Thank You that Your Kingdom is near
on our streets, in our communities—
Come Lord Jesus, Light of the world, guide us
in Your Way of loving, living, and being with our neighbours.

Karen Wilk is the Neighbourhood Life Lead on the NAB Missional Initiatives Team.