Sunday Message, 25th December – ‘Full of Grace and Truth’
Psalm 85; John 1: 14; Hebrews 1: 1 – 4;
Christmas is a time of fullness. We’ve all had full diaries and I’m certainly looking forward to a few relaxing days. I’m sure we’ve all had full stockings this morning. We will have days full of sharing with friends and family. This afternoon, I’m hoping that I’ll be full of turkey and Christmas pudding…maybe a mince pie or two. I then intend to have a nice full sleep on the sofa before filling the evening with fun and games, maybe even some more turkey.
Fullness and hunger are Christmas words to explore for us in spiritual terms. If Christmas is a time of fullness, it suggests that before that there was a gap, a time of hunger. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that in the past, God used the prophets and lots of other ways to speak, but now there is something altogether different. There is something to make up the lack. God now speaks to us through his Son.
Back in the day when God’s people were still looking forward to all that we now enjoy, Psalm 85 was penned. It is, in essence, and Advent Psalm…a Psalm looking forward to fullness that would come. “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation…he promises peace to his people….surely his salvation is near those who fear him, that his glory might dwell in our land. Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other….’ and so it continues. A longing that God would break into Israel’s long night, Israel’s hunger and satisfy with good things.
I wonder, you know, if John had this psalm in mind when he was writing the prologue to his gospel. He talks about this divine meeting, this divine coming together of the past and future, our hunger and our fullness when he talks about the arrival of the Word made Flesh. In John 1 we have those great words: “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen is glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the father, full of grace and truth.” It is not just miraculous that God came as one of us, as amazing as that is.
What is more amazing is that God comes in a combination that fulfils every hunger of the human soul, every hope of human longing: Jesus, full of grace and full of truth. Full of love and full of faithfulness. Righteousness and peace kiss each other in the person of Jesus. A perfect combination, a full combination.
That’s all well and good. Those, after all, are grand ideas. It is a full Christology. But what does it mean for us in the every day? Well, our invitation in Jesus is an invitation to holiness, to wholeness, to fullness. It is an offer to fill our lack.
You see, if we as followers of Jesus are full of grace alone, we become negligent of right living and we simply have grace that means very little. If we are full of truth alone, we can become harsh, self-righteous and condemning. If we possess only righteousness with no sense of peace, we become paranoid. If our peace is in place and our righteousness isn’t, our peace is without foundation. If we are faithful but do not have love, we are clashing cymbals. If we love but are not faithful, our love is shallow and fleeting.
As we come together to worship God’s Son this Christmas day, my prayer is that we will be like him. As we gaze upon his Glory, the majesty of God contained in a baby, we will see once again grace-full truth, peace-flavoured justice, love-filled faithfulness. This Christmas, may the Word become flesh in your life and continue to transform you from one shade of glory to another. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled. May I wish you a happy and full Christmas.