Christmas and Jesus: Life and Death

With the season of Christmas suddenly upon us, we are reminded once again that Jesus came to save us from our sins.  Jesus came to give us eternal life.  Jesus came to save us from eternal condemnation (a.k.a.: death).  These facts are sometimes forgotten among all of the images of shepherds and wise men.  These facts are sometimes misplaced among all of the images of Jesus as a baby in a manger surrounded by cows and donkeys.  Lest we forget, the baby Jesus, born in Bethlehem and laid in a manger, would be covered with blood and hanging on a cross outside of Jerusalem only thirty-three years later.

Jesus Christ was born to save us from our sins.  In order to do this, God became man.  God and man are united in one, Jesus Christ.  This miracle of incarnation was foretold by the prophet Isaiah in a famous, oft-quoted and often misunderstood Bible verse: “For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  Isaiah is, of course, referring to God becoming man.  In so doing, God brings eternal peace between Himself and man.  This eternal peace (in other parts of the Bible called, ‘Peace on earth’) can only be obtained through the shedding of blood, and through suffering and death.

The usual thoughts that people have of Christmas are of food and family, gifts and Christmas trees, Santa Claus and the baby Jesus.  These are probably your thoughts.  They are mine, too.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with such images of Christmas.  After all, Christmas is a time of happiness.  There is more to Christmas than these usual images, however.  There is more to Christmas than the manger of Jesus and life.  There is also the cross of Jesus and death.

Jesus came for no other reason than to save us from our sins.  Want proof?  Jesus’ name is proof, enough.  “She will bear a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  To save us from our sins, Jesus must die.  You probably wouldn’t know it by looking at Him, but the ‘first-born son, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger’ (Luke 2:7), is the Savior of all mankind.  The Savior of all mankind is destined to die.  He came for no other reason.

A confirmation class was once asked, “what does Christmas mean to me?”  Among the usual (and expected) responses of “it means presents” and its “Jesus’ birth and a [whole] lot of presents”, was included this unusual (and unexpected) response: “Christmas means a lot to me because [Jesus] died for us.”  Christmas isn’t just about life.  It’s about death, too.  Sure, the baby Jesus was born at Christmas, but He didn’t come only to be born.  He came to die for our sins.

Merry Christmas!