The Word that Breaks our Codes
Christmas Day, December 25, 2008
by Lyda Pierce
Scriptures: Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-4, (5-12); John 1:1-14
I grew up in the US speaking English. At 56, I’ve now also been speaking Spanish for the past 20 years. I still find it magical. It isn’t that I believe what my Spanish teacher said about Spanish being God’s language. Nor does it feel magical because I learned to speak it as if by magic. I did not.
I know people with special gifts of quickly absorbing new ways of communicating. I’m not one of those people. Learning Spanish was hard work for me, accompanied by a few tears of frustration and lots of red-faced moments of embarrassment over saying the wrong thing.
Communicating in Spanish feels magical because I find myself in a wholly different way of contact between people. It is like repeatedly cracking a secret code in which other people tell about their lives, faith, dreams, and more important things like the bathroom's location and the day of a parents' school meeting.
It is magical because speaking another language is more than knowing the correct words. Just memorizing a dictionary or a grammatical textbook won’t give you all the information you need to break the code. Part of the code involves giving directions by pointing with your lips in Nicaragua, eating soup with your fingers and corn tamale in Guatemala, and sleeping on a dirt floor in Honduras.
But to really have the code flow through you intuitively, you have to open your heart so that strangers stop being strangers and become your sisters and brothers. When I can communicate naturally, without thinking, it feels wondrous, mysterious, and exciting.
But I soon realized that I didn’t need to know a code to see that strangers are my sisters and brothers. On some level, we knew that all along. We just forgot when we got caught up in our own social codes of living, communicating, and understanding life.
This Christmas Day, we see that God broke all the codes in coming to us in human flesh. God became an open-source code available for all to understand: a divine Word that can communicate through and beyond human words and a spirit-filled Word that is lived rather than simply spoken.
Christ Jesus Is the Word
The Word comes to break our pride in thinking we are the best, or that we have the way, or that others are inferior.
Jesus Christ is the Word.
The Word comes to light God’s image in the face of all people and show that we are all sisters and brothers.
Jesus Christ is the Word.
The Word is God’s Spirit born in the Christ child so that we may speak with each other in wonder and in peace.
Christ is born. Hallelujah.
Resources for Advent and Christmas
Date posted: Dec 18, 2008