Chances are you know the Christmas story—the one where God sent His one and only Son to the Earth to be born of a virgin. And while the baby Jesus is the Christ we have on display in our manger scenes, it’s important for us to remember more than just His birth, especially during the holiday season.
Okay, hang on. I know you’re probably thinking I’m about to warn you against getting too caught up in decorating your home, baking gingerbread cookies and fighting the crowds at the mall this Christmas. You may even suppose I’m going to remind you that “Jesus is the reason for the season.”
While it is easy for the true meaning of Christmas to get lost admist the chaos of a commercialized holiday, my fear is not that we wont remember the real meaning of Christmas entirely; no, I’m afraid we simply wont remember the real meaning of Christmas enough.
The Christmas story is about so much more than a sweet little baby, and it takes more than a few moments at a Christmas Eve service to fully appreciate what the Christ child means to us. You see, Mary’s journey and Christ’s birth aren’t the whole story. They’re just the beginning of the story because they led to an event that means everything to us as Christians.
They were the start of a story that leads to Christ’s death on the Cross.
Ultimately, Christmas is a time for us to see and savor Christ’s death and resurrection, not just His birth. His God-given destiny was to be born…and then to die a torturous death and raise from the dead three days later so we could have eternal life.
I love this blog from DesiringGod.org, which inspired my post today. It was written by Jon Bloom, and in it he paints a more complete picture than we’re used to of the Savior who was wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger:
“There is glory to see in the manger, but to see it we likely need to do more than just set up the crèche and read Luke chapter two. To really see the Jesus of the manger we need to see the Jesus of Mark 4 who rules the wind, the Jesus of Matthew 27 hanging by nails on a Roman cross, and the resurrected Jesus of Revelation 5 reigning eternally victorious.”
So yes, my Savior was the beautiful baby born of Mary. Indeed, He is the one who was adorned with gifts by the wise men. But even more, He is the one who cried out to God in anguish from the Cross, yet still obeyed His Heavenly Father so that I could be saved.
“Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” (Matthew 27:45-50 ESV)
“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.” (Hebrews 5:7-9 ESV)
Christ is my rescuer, my redeemer, my salvation and my everything. And I refuse to forget that, even as I open presents on December 25.