Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Word and wordlets

Christmas music is ubiquitous this month: on TV and radio, in the malls and grocery stores, the mp3 player plugged into your head, and jangling from the brightly-blinking animated zoo in the neighbors’ front yard. We’ll hear a lot about sleigh rides and bells (even if we live in a Mediterranean or desert climate—or south of the equator), chestnuts roasting, having a merry little Christmas, Santa Claus, and the legend of a drummer boy present at the nativity. At church, surely we’ll sing Joy to the World, Silent Night, and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Why is Jesus characterized as The Word? Dictionaries define “word” as

the smallest unit of language,

a conversation,



an expression or authoritative utterance,

a promise,

a proverb, and

a hypostasis for divine wisdom.

In Latin, “word” doesn’t mean a motionless noun, but verbum. Verbs act and move.

In Greek, logos means word, thought, principle, or speech.

In the gospel of John, first chapter, we read the soaring song of salvation: that in the beginning-before-the-beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men… The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5, 14 NIV.

That’s certainly the most famous reference to Jesus as the Word. But there are many more references to both spoken word and written word in both Testaments. Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV says, In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Jesus is not only the Word of God, but He is the Author of our salvation. (Hebrews 2:10.)

In Revelation 3:12 NIV, the Author tells His believers: I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

In Jeremiah 31:33-34, the Lord declares that the old covenant, the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), has been broken, but He will create a new covenant: “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

That is what Jesus, the Word and the Author of salvation, did to our wickedness: forgive and forget. It’s not stored in a computer chip or written on paper in a giant book. We are written in the Book of Life, Jesus Himself. Jesus is life. Every word I've spoken to you is a Spirit-word, and so it is life-making. John 6:63 MSG.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians that they were a letter, written on his heart of love, known and read by everybody. You show that you are a letter from Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV.

We are epistles written from God’s heart, and dare I say, written on God’s heart. Ah! Not only is our Lord “The Word,” but because we are His children through creation and adoption, we are also words—maybe “wordlets” (to coin a word). He has written His words and His will upon our living hearts, and He dwells within us.

What an incomprehensibly gigantic gift is wrapped up in the small collection of letters that we read as “Word.”

As I read the story of Jesus’ birth this season, I will meditate on each of the secular definitions of “Word.” In them there is much to learn of our sacred Word.

…..In the beginning was a small unit of language (from God to His children).

…..In the beginning was a conversation.

…..In the beginning was communication.

…..In the beginning was an authoritative utterance.

…..In the beginning was a promise.

…..In the beginning was a verb.

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!

1 comment:

  1. Comments from Facebook:

    Patty Froese Ntihemuka-- "wow! beautiful!"

    Gail Steel-- "Christy, I can't wait to get my copy of the devotional! It sounds like something that's right up my alley!"


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