Let’s not downplay the magnitude of Christmas. This day we mark each year to celebrate the birth of Jesus is in reality, a celebration of the Gospel. Flashing colorful lights are great, but Christmas celebrates the light of the world stepping down into darkness. Christmas trees are a wonderful sight, but Christmas celebrates the birth of the Savior who would die on a bloody tree. The birth of Jesus was the first step of the Eternal King towards the cross. A step of love into selfless service, Christmas is a day on which a Savior was born to die for sinful mankind. The Christmas season shouldn’t lead you into stress, chaos, and frustration but into humility, love, and selfless service. Don’t get lost in the societal buzz. Christmas celebrates the first step of The Savior onto a journey to the cross with a 3-day stay at the grave and a glorious resurrection before ascending back home to heaven.
I think this is often overlooked during the holiday seasons, but it holds great importance and illuminates the nature of following Jesus. Think about this for a moment: the Almighty God who spoke the universe into being “emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). Jesus stepped down from a heavenly throne of glory into an earthly manger of humility with one purpose: to die on the cross for sinners. This is the cause for celebration. This is the reason for the season! God breaking into human history as a tiny infant was Jesus taking His first step to the cross. The cross that would lift up the Son of God who came down to die for the eternal redemption of any souls that will trust and follow him. The manger was the opening act of God’s redeeming action, the very beginning of the Gospel narrative. God has come down from heaven up high into a manger, virgin born, to die for sinful mankind. Oh Bethlehem you may have been silent on that holy night, but the heavens were roaring with excitement in the sky.
Okay, that’s all great and wonderful but what does this have to do with me following Jesus? I’m glad you asked. Is this not the type of selfless love that the Gospel demands of you? To follow Jesus is to become empty of your ‘self’ and to humbly pick up the cross. To follow Jesus is to come off that throne of your ego-driven heart and serve those who are in need. To follow Jesus is to love, and that requires you to be selfless. Christmas is a day to celebrate the God who stepped off his throne in love onto a path that led to the cross. This is a celebration of the Gospel my friend, the Gospel that calls you to follow the example of Jesus who came down to serve and to save sinners. Rejoice this Christmas for the Savior that was born to die is the Savior that was raised to life, celebrate the Gospel and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)
“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’” (Mark 8:34)
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)