1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
One of my favorite stories is a children’s book written by Kate Seredy entitled “A Tree for Peter.” Set in the Great Depression it is told through the eyes of a little boy who lives with his mother in an abandoned house in a deserted neighborhood on the edge of town, near the river. His life is bleak to say the least. His mother must work all day at a laundry and Peter is left alone, to fend for himself.
Peter has several adventures, some of them frightening. Periodically a hobo shows up and Peter does not know what to make of him but eventually they become friends. They somehow find a little rowboat and spend afternoons on the river. It ends with Peter wanting to make his new home a little better, finally getting a bunch of folks together to paint and fix up the dilapidated houses in which they live. It all starts with the gift of a tree which somehow the hobo gets for Peter.
By the end of the story one is pretty sure that this hobo is not just another homeless man. It is the Christ. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, wrote John. Jesus was an itinerant preacher. He even says that he has nowhere to lay his head (Lk 9:58). Yet from his fullness we all have received grace upon grace. Indeed, no one has ever seen God, but look at this Jesus, this child born in a manger for us. He has made God known.