Over Christmas we are bombarded with mental images of the baby Jesus, humble in poverty, but still adorable in the manger. We probably have warm fuzzy feelings when we think about the mystery of the Incarnation: and how the Son of God took on human flesh; Our Lady’s warm, motherly love; even Saint Joseph’s wise, strong protection. So, we may very well wonder why, so close to Christmas, we have this gospel account of the Resurrection. The Feast of St. John reminds us that Christmas is about much more than the birth of the Messiah. Christmas points just as much to his passion, death, and resurrection.
John’s insight that Jesus is more than just a run of the mill prophet or teacher shapes his entire gospel. When John tells us about Our Lord’s birth, he doesn’t give historical details in the same way that Luke and Matthew do. Instead, he tells us why the Son of God took on human flesh: to dwell among us and to make us children of God.
Later in his gospel, when John reflects on the meaning of Our Lord’s life, he focuses on how God revealed his glory through Jesus. He focuses on how Our Lord’s words and actions manifest what it means to be filled with divine life and to let that life shine through him. God became a human being so that he could be seen, touched, and heard.
This focus on the glory of God revealed in Christ is a key part of our Christmas celebration. As we observe the octave of Christmas our warm, fuzzy feelings can be transformed into a life-changing experience of the heavenly life that Our Lord enjoys – a life that he wants each of us to share. We too can be like St. John, who saw and believed as we see how the child in the manger holds in his tiny person the promise of the resurrection. On Saint John’s feast let us ask God for special blessings so that, like Saint John, we too can take on a heavenly perspective.