At the turn of the millennium, people are looking back to the great events of the twentieth century: the amazing journeys people have made, including this past week when for the first time in history, a woman made a solo rowboat crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Or in the 1980s when students walked courageously across Tienanmen Square in Beijing and stood alone against a phalanx of People's Republic of China tanks and stopped for a moment what was the world watched. Or in the 1970s when hundreds of thousands of Americans made the journey across the Pacific Ocean to the controversial conflict in Vietnam. Or in the 1960s when President John Kennedy traveled to Dallas, Texas, and went for a ride in an open, black Lincoln Continental and was assassinated. It changed the course of American history. Or the 1950s when Rosa Parks got on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and refused to surrender her seat to a white passenger and launched the Civil Rights movement. These were some of the journeys that changed human history.
But the greatest journey of all was the Christmas journey, the journey from heaven to earth, from there to Bethlehem. We know the story well in its earthly version, about Mary and Joseph and angels and shepherds. We know it so well that some of us can recite it by heart. But this morning, I read to you the same Christmas story, not the earthly version but the heavenly version. It comes from the Gospel of John 1, and it begins like this:
In 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 light shines in the darkness, ...
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