It’s a few hours before one of the biggest days in the Christian year: Christmas!
I’ve worked in customer service for the past four Christmases, and let me tell you, there is usually such a difference in people’s attitudes towards this time of year. The past three Christmases, people were less angry, less grumpy, less impatient, and generally nicer. Everyone would greet you “Merry Christmas” regardless of race and culture.
This year, however, I felt no change in people. It’s either because they were already all nice (which is probably not the case) or this year, Christmas no longer is as meaningful to an ever-increasing amount of people as it was last year.
Sad, isn’t it? But it is true. While in my family we no longer go all out in celebrating Christmas, we still do not forget the reason for the season. Greater than the gift giving, the get-togethers, and the food and decorations, I see Christmas as the specific time to remember how God became human flesh; how He was so willing to be human like us: rotten, mud-made, weak flesh; how He chose to start in this world as a little helpless baby.
That cute little baby at the manger did not always stay cute. The manger story was not just a fairytale.
He was born, a little baby, so that one day He could die for our sins. He was born to die in our place, so that we might have life, and that we might live fully in Him and because of Him. He died so that we could be free from the slavery, shackles, and chains of the curse of our sin. He offers not just
a little baby to worship, but He offers a man on the cross–a man who is also God, who died and rose again. He offers salvation to those who recognise that they need to be saved and believe that He died and rose for them again.
As you celebrate Christmas this year, be thankful to God for His gift in the form of a baby in Bethlehem. Be thankful that He came. But I beg you not to give more importance, and only importance, to the birth more than to the death.
It is a sobering thought, but I cannot separate His birth from His death, because His birth was only the means to achieve His purpose. His death showed me how much He loved me, and while I still rejoice in His birth, I cannot shield my eyes from His death and His resurrection.
So should you not.
He died, after all, that man might live.
These thoughts will not keep me jumping up and down in excitement for Christmas morning. I will probably not be “giddy” and won’t experience great excitement. But these thoughts will keep me secure when I wake up. It will give me a certain constant joy and a steady light in my heart, remembering His great love for me. It is a bittersweet sort of joy.
May you have a peaceful celebration of the birth of our Lord. 🙂