How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, "Your God reigns."
Beautiful feet indeed, especially when they are a baby’s feet, astonishing in their brand-newness, so unbelievably small, bearing the good news that God has indeed appeared among us, as one of us.
Oddly enough, it’s not the story of that baby that we hear in this Christmas morning gospel passage: Instead of a story, it is a song: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This opening hymn from the Gospel of John, speaks of God’s Word becoming flesh, but not specifically of Luke’s poor little Jesus boy in a manger, or Matthew’s star child visited by Magi, then fleeing in danger to Egypt. John’s song is more like an overture, the ballad that tells the backstory of what God had in mind all along, a plan that started way back in the beginning, at the very beginning, when God first sang the Word that became the World, a creation whose purpose, its reason for being, is to make a place for God to live with God’s people.
And though we speak today of a “Savior, Christ the Lord,” John’s song isn’t yet ready to be that specific: For John there is something more to the Word than any baby can capture. After all, in the gospel of John, there is no baby at all: The Word didn’t become flesh for its own sake, to be God’s one-and-only, but to give those who believe the “power to become children of God,” to give us, who today sing John’s song, that power to be God’s children here and now.
The mystery of Christmas is our own mystery. The Word became flesh and dwells among us, so that we in our flesh might dwell with God.
Which makes me wonder just whose beautiful feet Isaiah is talking about: For us this Christmas they are surely the newborn feet of the Christ-child, both the messenger of peace, and the message himself. And, for us who join in singing the Gospel of John’s opening song, they are also our feet, whether showroom new and unmarked by a step, or calloused and worn by the twists and turns of life’s long road.
It is our beautiful feet, our bodies, our voices, our lives, that bear the Word-made-flesh, each of us the Words God is still singing into creation, each of us notes in the Christmas harmony God has been singing since the beginning.