Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas: It’s not About the Baby

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to post for Christmas. I came to the conclusion that I had no idea! Rather than expound upon a theological topic or draw deep meaning from a Christmas hymn, I thought I would write a shorter post from the heart. Christmas is my favorite holiday and has been for years. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I was born in December. Perhaps it’s because it’s a beautiful time of year. But, most of all, it’s because of all that Christmas stands for. But Christmas is not about the Baby.  

            Yes, December is a gorgeous month. I love it when the snow is coming down and the air is cold and quiet. It seems to echo the solemnity and beauty of Christ’s birth, after all, that’s what Christmas is all about. Christmas is a time for gifts and joy, which reflect the gift that God sent over two thousand years ago and the great joy it brought. But we tend to forget the price that gift cost.

            The world is a messed up place. All we need do is look over the past year to see that driven home! Terrorist attacks, school shootings, and terrible natural disasters seem all too common. Children are crying, families broken, and people dying of terrible diseases. What right do we have to celebrate the birth of a small baby in Bethlehem when there is such sorrow? Christmas is not about the Baby. It’s not about His parents or the wise men or the shepherds. Christmas is about the Man that this tiny Child would become!

            The world is messed up. What is God doing about it! Well, God did do something about it! That tiny Baby would grow up to become a Man. He would teach for many years and then be killed unjustly in the most excruciating way imaginable by the Jewish and Roman authorities. But that’s not the rest of the story! As that Man died, He took the punishment for our rebellion against His laws! You see, that tiny Baby was Jesus Christ, God incarnate. We, the human race, disobeyed God’s laws and have continued to do so. Our rebellion scarred creation. The evil in the world is the result of our crimes against a Holy God. We deserve Hell for our crimes.

But Jesus paid our fine! As He died on the cross, He took the punishment for the sins of the world on His back. God’s Christmas Gift cost Him His Son and His life. It is because of this that all the sorrow in the world has a purpose. It’s a reminder of God’s mercy as He gives humanity time to trust in Christ, turn from their sins (repent), and follow His precepts as revealed in Scripture. It is because of the manger and that tiny Baby that we have hope for tomorrow! And that is the reason we can rejoice. We rejoice because Christmas is not about the Baby, but about the cross and salvation.

In reality, Christmas is about the Baby but it encompasses so much more than the manger! Christ’s life was not about the manger where He would begin, but the cross where His life would end followed by His triumphant resurrection and ascension. As you listen to the snow fall softly this year, take a moment to think about the Baby and the Man and the cross. And when you do, get your life right with Him and thank God for his gift and the price it cost. Merry Christmas, everyone! 

Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (Selected Verses)
Traditional British Christmas Carol

Tomorrow shall be my dancing day;
I would my true love did so chance
To see the legend of my play,
To call my true love to my dance;

Sing, oh! my love, oh! my love, my love, my love,
This have I done for my true love.

Then was I born of a virgin pure,
Of her I took fleshly substance
Thus was I knit to man's nature
To call my true love to my dance.


In a manger laid, and wrapped I was
So very poor, this was my chance
Between an ox and a silly poor ass
To call my true love to my dance…


The Jews on me they made great suit,
And with me made great variance,
Because they loved darkness rather than light,
To call my true love to my dance.


For thirty pence Judas me sold,
His covetousness for to advance:
Mark whom I kiss, the same do hold!
The same is he shall lead the dance.


Before Pilate the Jews me brought,
Where Barabbas had deliverance;
They scourged me and set me at nought,
Judged me to die to lead the dance.


Then on the cross hanged I was,
Where a spear my heart did glance;
There issued forth both water and blood,
To call my true love to my dance.


Then down to hell I took my way
For my true love's deliverance,
And rose again on the third day,
Up to my true love and the dance.


Then up to heaven I did ascend,
Where now I dwell in sure substance
On the right hand of God, that man
May come unto the general dance.



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