I’ve always celebrated Christmas as the time of Jesus’ birth. It’s a joyful time—after all, when is the birth of a baby not a reason to celebrate? It’s marked with angel choruses, gifts of the magi, and celebration to end all celebrations.
In contrast, I’ve always approached Easter as a more somber time—certainly a time of ultimate triumph. But one that was preceded by the agony of Jesus on a cross. To me, Easter was when Christ laid down His life for us.
Now I’ve begun to look at things a little differently.
Recently, I challenged by a friend to view Christmas in a new light. She pointed out that His birth on earth was when Jesus left His Heavenly glory.
The more I considered this, the more sharply I saw the contrast of His life in Heaven. I had always looked at Christmas as a gift—which it is—instead of seeing past the present to the sacrifice it must have been. Jesus’ birth truly was the time when He laid down His life for us.
These are my thoughts on what Jesus really sacrificed by coming into this world:
- He exchanged Heavenly robes for swaddling garments of ragged cloth.
- He exchanged the chorus of angels praising him day and night with the voices of cattle in a lowly manger.
- He exchanged the power and authority of being God in Heaven with that of living as a helpless—fully human—baby.
- He exchanged the protection of angels with the dubious protection of human parents.
- He exchanged immortality with a life that would end in physical death. (Yes, He was fully resurrected, but He had to go through the process of living to dying to reconcile us with God).
- He exchanged perfect—intimate—fellowship with God for a relationship with us.
I will never see Christmas the same way again. How about you?
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Philippians 2:6-8