The Poetry of Christmas

Last night we shared the story again, of God with us.

And we were reminded that God is with us in all of our particular stories. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad.

But that’s incomplete, because Christmas isn’t actually about us.

God didn’t come for us, individually.

God came for the world.

So today’s reading helps us see that more clearly.

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 into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.


Last night Luke told a story of particulars – “In those days” and “in that region.” It’s about a particular place, time, and people. 

Today John’s story is eternal and expansive, talking about all times and all places.

Luke tells it looking from the outside, John tells it looking from the inside.

Luke tells us what happened, John tells us it means.

Luke tells the Christmas story with facts, John tells it with poetry.

There’s something about poetry that helps us see a world bigger than we can imagine. Poetry can pull us out of ourselves and into the bigger story.

Yes, God is with us in each of our particular stories.

But even more, the Incarnation means we are now part of God’s bigger story.

The poetry of Christmas is so much bigger than us. It’s so much bigger than one, isolated story.

It’s God’s story, and it is so incredibly beautiful.

Howard Thurman was a theologian, teacher, philosopher, and civil rights leader.

He was also a poet. One of his poems, The Work of Christmas, can help us understand how we are now part of God’s bigger story.

I think this might say it best…


When the song of the angels is stilled,

When the star in the sky is gone,

When the kings and princes are home,

When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,

To heal the broken,

To feed the hungry,

To release the prisoner,

To rebuild the nations,

To bring peace among others,

To make music in the heart.