My wife and I have two annual traditions that help us welcome in the Christmas season.
The first is a trip to a local coffee shop to enjoy one of their festively-flavoured drinks. The smell and the taste tell us Christmas is coming.
The second is the first playing of our favourite Christmas CD. It comes out every year on 1 December, gets played like crazy throughout the festive period, and then gets put away again for another year.
Have you ever stopped to think about where the Christmas story begins?
Maybe you’d say it’s when the angel announced to Mary: “You will be with child and give birth to a son” (Luke 1:31)?
Or possibly you’d mention Isaiah’s prophecy from hundreds of years before Christ’s birth: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given” (9:6)?
For me, John sums it up best: “In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1).
In three short sentences John places Jesus into eternity past, and says just enough to leave us lingering, to sense that something big is about to happen.
The Christmas story didn’t begin with an angel.
Or a prophet.
The Christmas story began in eternity past.