I know at Christmas time we all think of Jesus, baby Jesus in a manger all snuggled up in his swaddling clothes. It’s a cute picture. It gives us warm fuzzies. What does the birth of Jesus really mean? How much does God love us that He sent His Son as a gift to us?
This year, I have been focusing on the reason Jesus was sent to us. What was God, the Father, first words? “Let there be Light.” Genesis 1:3 Light. Think about this. If you are like me, when you read that you think of physical light as in sunlight. However, when you read John 1, we are told that “The Word was with God and the Word was God…The Word gave life to everything that was created and his life brought light to everyone.” Now think about the meaning of the word light? LIGHT = JESUS. God was thinking of Jesus from the very beginning. God KNEW He was going to have to send His Son into the world to reconcile us back to Him.
How much did God love us, know He was sending His Son to die for us? Think about Jesus and His life and His first sacrifice for someone…
Jesus was born. Mary and Joseph raised Him. He had siblings. Jesus was fully human – he pooped, he cried and probably fought with his brothers. We don’t know much about him; did he know that he was the Savior, the Messiah? We know that at about age 12, his parents found him teaching in the temple. So, at that point, there was at least part of Him that knew He was different. We really don’t much until He gets baptized much later on and starts calling His disciples. We find through out the gospels, many verses where Jesus explains to His disciples what is going to happen to Him. Of course, they don’t really understand what He is saying. However, at this point, age 30 ish, He knows. He knows why He was sent.
Fast forward to the last supper. The next 24 hours truly explain how incredible the birth, the gift of Jesus Christ is. Jesus knows He is going to be betrayed and that He is going to be crucified. Yet, being fully human, He doesn’t want to go through with it. But, He is determined to fulfill the will of His Father. As He faces Pilate, He doesn’t defend Himself. He knows, Pilate knows that He is innocent. He knows, Pilate knows, the Pharisees know, the people know that Barrabas is completely guilty. What happens? Jesus takes the place of Barrabas. Jesus takes his death penalty for his sins on himself. Jesus’ first sacrifice was for a completely, unrepentant murderer. Why? Because God loves Barrabas, loves us, that much. Period. We don’t know what happened to Barrabas. Did he ever repent and follow Jesus? It doesn’t matter, Jesus died for Him. If he didn’t, well, then he had to pay the spiritual death penalty. If he did, then he was saved from death and is living in Paradise (just like the criminal on the Cross next to Jesus.)
Now, that’s love.
Jesus, baby Jesus, was sent to live fully human, to be completely holy and pure from sin, so He could then shed His blood for Barrabas, the criminal….us.
I can celebrate this. God loves His Son, Jesus. I love my daughter. God loves us and wants to be in union with us. I love people and want to be in union with people. God gave His Son as a sacrifice for our sins so He could be in union with us. I am not, and would not, sacrifice my daughter.
How are you celebrating Jesus this year?
What traditions do you have in place to help keep your focus on the gift of Christ?
Maybe this will be your first year looking at Christmas from this perspective. If so, that’s good. I would love to know how this change effects you, your family and this holiday from here on out.
Many blessings and Merry Christmas!