Advent Day 22 – When Does Christmas Begin
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…” John 1:1
Biblically we can go back no further than John 1:1 in tracing out the Christmas story. It begins “in the beginning” with the second person of the Trinity, called “the Word.” While many in our culture would answer the question, “Where did the Christmas story begin?” by talking about Bethlehem and angels and shepherds and wise men, it actually goes much, much further back.
We don’t know really how to talk about “infinity” and “eternity” in the sense of locating “the beginning” but literally it means “in the beginning of the beginning,” or one translator put it “the beginning before the beginning.”. Literally it says, “in A beginning,” not “THE beginning.”
John did not intend with these introductory words to locate a beginning “point” for the Savior, as though there is linear time in eternity. It does not. At least time as we know it, measure it, and understand it.
We can’t. There was never a “time” when Jesus was not, when God was not, and when the Holy Spirit was not. There is so much we cannot and will probably never understand about that. We cannot even conceive of nothingness, because our view of nothing at some point has a backdrop. For most people, “nothing” is dark, but dark itself means that something is there.
So anyway, we’re out of our depth. We may as well talk about quarks and quantum physics, but some are smart enough to discuss those. No one is smart enough to describe eternity.
But Christmas actually begins in infinity, in eternity, not Bethlehem. This beginning-less One, known in eternity and referred to by the inspired writer of Scripture “the Word,” or “logos,” was not just “with” God in the sense you would sit “with” your friend in a restaurant. He was “with” God, but He also was God. There is no separation between the eternal Father God and the Word.
Ok, I’ve given myself a headache trying to think about all this. It’s far superior to our ability to reason through or make sense of, but we will have all of eternity to try and absorb it.
But where does Christmas begin?