Advent 4: Incarnation

You may well have sat through services of carols and readings where the readings start in the Old Testament, with its promises of Christ’s coming, and work through the nativity accounts in the gospels, before culminating in the opening verses of John. (Anglican friends can confirm, but it seems that John 1 as well as Hebrews 1 – is read on Christmas morning).

With that in mind, I could have left John 1 (beyond yesterday’s post) for Christmas morning. But I’m going to continue from where yesterday left off, with John’s description of the coming of Christ:

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

Just a few words but they are rich in terms of meaning and allusion. Someone reading John’s Greek would have noticed his choice of term to describe the ‘dwelling’ of the Word with us, and its echoes of the theme of the Tabernacle from the Old Testament. The presence of God that was expressed in Tabernacle and Temple is now expressed in the Incarnate Word.


John is talking about the incarnation: the Word coming in flesh. God became one of us: without ever ceasing to be God, he was translated into human.

Recently I heard someone express it like this: God left the sidelines to join us on the front lines.


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