It's interesting to consider the prologue of St. John's Gospel as being an alterative to the geneologies and infancy narriatives presented by Ss. Luke and Matthew. Instead of a human geneology or the the Virgin Birth, we are invited to focus on Christ, the Eternal Logos, or (as I once heard somewhere) the 'prehistory of Christ.'
In this season of Advent, we could do worse than reflect on two passages from this great hymn (has it ever been put to music in English or Latin??).
Firstly, and most obviously, there are those marvellous words : "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." How can we say that, without adding 'Deo Gratias!' The miracle of the incarnation, the divine condescension... as we prayed at vespers this evening:
Though he was in the form of God, Jesus Christ did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.Secondly, for Advent, we have those heart-breaking words from John's prologue "He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not." Advent is not a penetential season, like lent, but it is one of a certain austerity. Could we not make it our special intention this Advent that the Lord help us sharpen our 'spiritual sense' that we might recognise His presence and His work in the world?
I say, that we must not only have faith in Him, but must wait on Him; not only must hope, but must watch for Him; not only love Him, but must long for Him; not only obey Him, but must look out, look up earnestly for our reward, which is Himself. We must not only make Him the Object of our faith, hope, and charity, but we must make it our duty not to believe the world, not to hope in the world, not to love the world. We must resolve not to hang on the world's opinion, or study its wishes. It is our mere wisdom to be thus detached from all things below. "The time is short," says the Apostle; "it remaineth that they who weep be as though they wept not, and they that rejoice as if they rejoiced not, and they that buy as though they possessed not, and they that use this world as if they used it not, for the fashion of this world passeth away."
- John Henry Newman
And a Link to a Hymn
Conditor alme siderum, the great Advent hymn.