“The word which God speaks to us in Jesus is not simply one word among many, but his eternal Word.” - Lumen Fidei, 15
As Christmas rapidly approaches, here are a few thoughts about what it means that the Word of God was made flesh. My hope is that reading this will prepare your hearts and minds a little bit more to receive Him when He comes.
First things first: what is a word? Merriam-Webster says that a word is “a sound or combination of sounds that has a meaning and is spoken or written.” A word is a way that we communicate an idea, usually through sounds. But there is also a visual element to a word as well. It can be written on a piece of paper. Or in the case of a deaf person, a word can be signed.
As you are reading the words that I have written here, hopefully the ideas that I have in my brain are taking shape in your brain. This is what words do. They express ideas or concepts. A simpler example would be the word “cup.” When you see “cup” you might picture something like this:
or even this:
The point is that when you see or hear the word cup, it brings to your mind the basic concept of what a cup is and what it does. Words express ideas.
In the same way, Christ, as the Word of God, is an expression of the Father. At the same time, He both expresses God and is God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). God our Creator, wishing to communicate and express Himself to us, sent Christ to make Himself known. God speaks to us through Christ.
But was it so important that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”? (John 1:14) We finite human beings are incapable of fully comprehending an infinite and divine Being. (If this blog post isn’t enough evidence of that, I don’t know what is.) So the Word took on human flesh and a nature that we can understand, because it is just like ours. At the same time, “the Word was God” (John 1:1). He remained fully divine. By speaking to us in human words and human actions, but with divine authority, Christ revealed who the Father was and showed God’s great love for each of us.
What great love it was for the Word, the Second person of the Trinity, to become man so that we might understand a little bit about God! It is like a very intelligent father bending down to explain to his four-year-old son, in the simplest of terms, what quantum physics consists of.