There are twelve days to Christmas (it is a season) in the church. The birth of Christ needs to be celebrated because it is so important (the exact date is not).
The connection of Jesus' birth to the beginning of Winter is all about light entering darkness. The darkest day of the year is now behind us. Each day we are adding a few minutes of more sun. There is hope for better, brighter days. The physical world reflects the spiritual reality!
The meaning of the birth of Jesus (Light has come into the world) is a transcendent truth which shapes our celebration. This is why there are twelve days of Christmas! No single day can contain His incarnation... It is a season of celebration!
Today's Gospel reading from John 1 conveys that timeless and transcendent sense more obviously than Luke does. There is nothing subtle about the Fourth Gospel and there is no focus on any biographical information either. It is a big time declaration of something amazing:
Jesus is God Incarnate!!!
The Word was God from the Beginning
The Word is Creator
The Word is Light
The Word is Life
The Word became flesh
The Word alone reveals the Father
That is who Jesus is. It is is why we say "no salvation outside of Christ." Jesus is God. Jesus is God. So, if God saves it is only in and through Jesus. There is no other way because there is no other God except the one incarnate in Jesus...
I would like, however, to look at this salvation from another angle. What it means, here and now, for us. What does Jesus do in John 1? He comes to His own, and whoever receives (lambano) Him He gave power (exousia) to become/be made (ginomai) the children (teknon- is a neuter) of God.
Or, as Paul says, God sent His son to redeem us, so that we could receive adoption. We are no longer slaves--i.e. people in society without status or rank--but children of God. So we can say "Abba! Father!"
The word 'Abba' is Aramaic and hearkens back to Jesus' native language. It is a strong memory of the actual words of Jesus. Paul is saying, we can call God by the same thing intimate term as Jesus does.
Knowing Who and What Jesus is we must also understand who and what we are! As a child of God, your status has been changed. Jesus, our brother, is also our model. Too often we live our lives base on our neighbors, many of whom have no faith. You are a creature in process of being 'divinized'; some day you will share in the fullness of God's life.
Do you understand what it means to say, "I am God's child"? It is something to be pondered long and deeply. In the face of such a sublime gift, "how then shall we live?" If Christmas is a season of gift giving then understand what the gift of God in Jesus means for you.
No matter how flawed and imperfect you are.
No matter how you may have been abused or rejected.
No matter how unworthy you might feel, or afraid.
No matter what evidence there is to the contrary.
Nothing matters more than this:
You can call God 'my Daddy' and know that He says to you, 'my beloved child'