I wonder if the creator of the lectionary was having a little December 31 fun with the first reading beginning, it is the last hour and the gospel starting off, In the beginning. Ending the year with the prologue to St. John’s gospel seems fitting. The structure of the passage is the key to its interpretation since the author has arranged the poem as a series of bookends with the beginning and the end parallel to each other. Moving through the parallels you come to the central passage which all the rest bracket: to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God. St. John wants us to understand that we are the ones transformed by the birth of Jesus.