The Word Leapt Down From Heaven

“The Word Leapt Down From Heaven”
A reflection on John 1:1-18
The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
©️2021 by Gloria M. Chang

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;

the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.

He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

John the Angel of the Desert,
Michael Damaskenos, 16th c.
(Pushkin Museum)

John testified to him and cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’” From his fullness we have all received, grace in place of grace, because while the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side, has revealed him.

John 1:1-18

In the Beginning

Genesis and John both begin “in the beginning,” before the existence of humankind. Proceeding from the mouth of God, a word brought light into being: Let there be light, and there was light (Genesis 1:3). The Almighty Word that made light and life leapt down from heaven and “pitched his tabernacle” (eskēnōsen) among us (John 1:14).

The Pre-Existence of Christ

John the Baptist, the voice in the wilderness, recognized that the Christ, his younger cousin according to the flesh, “existed before me” (John 1:15). Later, John the Evangelist identified Jesus as the very Word of God “in the beginning.” Jesus Christ, the new Adam, is the “light of humankind (anthrópos),” which in Hebrew is also adam (John 1:4).

While earth was rapt in silence and night only half through its course, Your Almighty Word, O Lord, leapt down from heaven, from Your royal throne, alleluia.

Liturgical antiphon adapted from Wisdom 18:15

John came to testify to the Light:
The Word that illumines Adam’s night.

2 Replies to “The Word Leapt Down From Heaven”

  1. Dear GMC, thank you for another year of helping us testify and give testimony to the Light. You have enlightened and enlivened our lives. Each unique reflection helps our Lord reach us to teach us and love us and be in us. As 2021 closes to an end, my hope is that we can inspire others as you have inspired us! What a wonderful world (and New Year) this would be!

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