For some it is a time of great anticipation. For some a time of reflection and worship. For some a time of preparation. For some a time of anxiety and frantic last-mintue activity.
On Christmas, we celebrate a birth, one of billions. I have been blessed to have witnessed the birth of literally thousands of babies. Birth is such an incredible miracle, but have you ever asked why the world celebrates this one birth? And why now, centuries later, so many are trying to stamp out that celebration. . .to remove the birth from the celebration?
It isn't because of the birth, it is because of the life lived after the birth. If the Lord Jesus had not lived a perfectly sinless life upon this earth, His birth would have held no more meaning for mankind than any other. If His death had not been for the redemption of the sins of the whole world, His being born in a manger would have just been a story of a couple who found themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. If His cold, lifeless body still remained in that borrowed tomb, there would be no Christmas tree in our living room today, no Candlelight service at church tonight, no lights on the houses all throughout our neighborhood. There would be no Christmas, for He would not have been the Christ.
But it wasn't.
The Lord Jesus Christ, miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit of a young virgin, did live that perfectly sinless life, though He was tempted in every way in which we are, "yet without sin." And He went on to the cross, a cruel death of shame and horror, "to give His life a ransom for many."
The third day, just as He said, He came forth from that tomb, that we may one day have the hope of coming forth from ours as well. More than that, He gives us the sure hope that we may walk out of the "tombs" in which we find ourselves from moment to moment and day to day. We have left walking in death and darkness and can walk in "newness of life" in this very moment, because of His birth, His life, His death and His resurrection.
So when we look at our celebration of Christmas today, tonight and tomorrow, let us look at baby Jesus and remember that baby grew to be a Man who lived a sinless life for us. Let us look at our Christmas tree and remember the cruel tree upon which He gave His life for our sins. Let us look at the manger and remember the tomb from which the Lord Jesus rose from the dead to secure our salvation if we trust in Him.
This is why His birth is celebrated by the world. This is why we love Christmas so much, because it is the beginning of the greatest love story the world has ever known. God became a baby. . .for us.