It’s that time of the year when we drag out the Christmas tree, light cinnamon scented candles, and sing about reindeers. The first snow has fallen, kids are practicing plays, and the malls are hopping, and we hear about days of giving. It’s a great time of year! Well, unless it’s your busy season.
This year, Christmas seems a little different to me in the sense of perception. Previously, I would go with the crowd and emphasize that Jesus came to die on the cross, but this year… well, this year I’m a bit convinced that Jesus didn’t come to die and our focus is dead wrong… excuse the pun…
It seems that Christmas gets this big blow-over compared to Easter. Good Friday and Easter get the biggest parts of celebration when it comes to Christ’s life, and we skip right over Christmas, as if Christmas gets back seat to Jesus dying on the cross, but really? Is it backseat compared to Easter?
Was the greatest moment of humility for Jesus bleeding on a cross saying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Because how can one have a last breath, if one has never had a first one? I think the greatest moment of Christ’s humility was found in a smelly stable, somewhere in Bethlehem. His very first cry, shattering the existence of humanity, was a magnificent God in the shell of a lowly human. And that first inhale of oxygen wasn’t fresh air, it was animal manure, and sweat, and just in general, muck. Now, a holy God was in human form and dwelling among sin and shame. What God deserves this?
And if the focal point of Jesus life was to solely die, why on earth did God warn Joseph in a dream? Why would God warn the Wisemen in a dream? Right there, moments after His birth, Herod could have killed Him and there His blood would have been shed, and there we would be redeemed. But no… There is significance in the fact He grew from a baby to a boy, to a teenager, to a young adult, to a grown man. There is a significance that He lived to face adulthood. And that adulthood was filled with teachings of humility, love, confrontations against legalism, care and social justice. These are the moments we dive deep into and seek out. Those red letters are filled with hope, love, concern and even guidance we want to replicate and live out. They are what we read and study to fully understand and grasp Who this great magnificent God is! Imagine if we didn’t have those years of Jesus’ ministry to refer to in order to understand the mission of God and the character of God? Jesus didn’t merely come to die, although that’s definitely a vital part of the story, but it’s not the WHOLE story.
When you stop to think about it, Jesus is eternal, and He is dead for only three days of all of eternity. These three days are absolutely necessary indeed, but they are three days that aren’t the end. I often ponder why we wear cross necklaces, hang crosses in the front of our churches, and have crosses on our clothing, when really; shouldn’t it be the empty tomb instead of the cross? Isn’t that what we celebrate? Christ’s restored life? Jesus resurrects, walks this earth for 40 days and then ascends to Heaven, where He continues to live at God’s right hand. And it’s through His resurrection that we have life also.
So, this Christmas season, as we eat our platters of food, open our presents, watch our annual movies, and gather with family and friends, let’s not say, “The whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to die on the cross” let’s say “The whole purpose of Jesus coming to earth was to live and give life eternally”.
I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in Me, though He were dead, yet shall be lived. –Jesus Christ—
I am the way the truth and the life. –Jesus Christ–