Are we forgetting the reason for Christmas? This year, more than ever, I have noticed the absence of Jesus and the dominance of Santa’s, reindeer, bells and lights in our shopping centers. I have been looking for a nativity scene decor item and have yet to find one. Is it still about the birth of Jesus for us?
Even then, His purpose in coming to earth was not about giving us a sweet picture of Jesus in a manger, with shepherds, wise men and a star. The baby was born for one reason only, to die for you and for me and pay for the forgiveness of our sins. Dying at the cross so that we can be reconciled in relationship with God.
We rarely think of the cross at Christmas time, but in Philippians 2:6-8 (NLT) Paul connects Jesus’ birth to His death and explains God’s ultimate reason for taking this action. Talking about Jesus, Paul says:
“Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
Jesus was a King, a Divine king, ruling in heaven. Yet, He exchanged his kingly rights and power, His glorious appearance, to be human, in human flesh. Although man is wonderfully made, this temporary frame made of dust, does not compare to the glorious, eternal appearance of God that transcends time and space. But for the sake of our redemption, He lay that aside to be like us – human. He identified with our humanity to pay the price on behalf of humanity, whom He loved (John 3:16).
He humbled Himself, in attitude of heart, willing to stoop to whatever position was necessary to complete the task of reconciling us to God. He counted Himself slave to God, one willing to do whatever their superior would require, even if it meant personal death. Not just any death though, death on a cross.
Obedience tells me it was not easy, Jesus made a conscious decision to put Himself under the Father’s authority, listen to His Fathers requirement for sin and then carrying out the orders that were given to Him. (John 8:28-29 NLT)
“So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I am he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.””
Jesus had to come to a place of obedience. Although He knew He was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, He was not excited about death on the cross. Any visit to scripture will confirm that the hours before His death were difficult, with blood, sweat and tears. But He chose to obey “even death on the cross.” Even – including at the extreme level – that was the level of His humility and obedience.
Why was Jesus willing to face EVEN death on the cross,
“For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2b)
Jesus could see the JOY He and we would experience, He was willing to do whatever was required in order to redeem the world from Satan and sin and to that extent He humbled Himself. Starting with His birth. Ending in His death and ultimate resurrection.
So, as the first part of Hebrews 12:2 tells us to do, let us during this Christmas season “fix our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” Jesus is what Christmas is about, the greatest gift to all to mankind.
Help us Father to focus on the true meaning of Christmas over this holiday season, to focus on our own relationship with Jesus as the author and perfecter of our faith. Thank you Jesus for coming to us in the form of a baby, knowing that obedience required your death on the cross. Help us all to embrace your sacrifice, so that You may be glorified in us.
Heart Treasure wishes all our readers a blessed Christmas celebration.
All our love,
Michelle du Toit and team.