Scott Sanders launches our Advent series by getting lost in the bush and finding the humble path - at expense of his pride.
Stevie Wills advocates for the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities. She's a performance poet, public speaker and writer.
Today's reading is John 1:1-18
I have cerebral palsy. I often have headaches, a foggy brain, muscle pain and digestive problems. This year I realised that I was afraid that I wasn’t fully alive. I had lived with this fear for a long time. I had perceived my physical pain and discomfort to be a degree of death.
In my case, however, pain is a sign of life. It’s a good thing because it tells me when my muscles are strained and when I need to see a chiropractor. For many years I subconsciously perceived death to be within my body. I lived in fear.
I had experienced death as I was born when I was strangled by the umbilical cord. Yet for nine months before I was born, I was full of life. Life was all I knew. When I see a chiropractor, my health is restored. Health is not elusive.
As I began to realise that I am fully alive I was able to concentrate more. To write, study and to be present. My counsellor suggested that this was because when faced with the threat of death all a person’s energy is channelled into surviving. Now I know that I’m fully alive, I’m not in fight or flight mode. Fear is no longer draining my capabilities.
As I read today’s text I am reminded: If my body was made through Jesus, then it must be good. Fully good. If my body was made through Jesus, then my body is full of life.
Our bodies are inherently good. Full of life. But we do suffer. We suffer pain, illness and death. Some people suffer terrible physical affliction.
The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us. In love, Jesus chose to be born as God incarnate. He chose to experience everything that we experience as humans. He experienced pain, hunger, thirst, tiredness; the list goes on. Because he has experienced everything that we experience, he knows and understands what we go through.
Jesus even experienced death. Over the last two years I’ve gotten to know the terrified baby Stevie. It was gut wrenching to begin to hear her. To hear her fear and her sense of being terribly alone. I have learnt to love and comfort her. Jesus was with her when she experienced death. Jesus had already experienced death. He chose to go through it again with her.
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In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
6 God sent a man, John the Baptist, 7 to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. 8 John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. 9 The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. 11 He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
15 John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”
16 From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.