Well, it’s the day after Christmas, and I realize that I have so many blessings to be thankful for. Not just family things, or job things, or even life things; I have Godly things to be thankful for as well. We all think of our families, our gifts, or even the gifts we are able to give of ourselves or to others on Christmas, but so often, we forget the true blessing we received on Christmas.
Roughly two thousand and twenty years ago, God finished part one His plan to save all of us from the consequences of our actions. The choice to be born in flesh, as a vulnerable baby in a place only fit for animals. To come with the knowledge that His love would be rejected by many, that some would spend lifetimes passing on lies about Him. The choice to be treated by those He came to save as if He was an enemy; to be spat on, beaten, tortured, nailed to a cross, and left to die, surrounded by His own people that wouldn’t acknowledge who He was. Christmas is our blessing, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, the beginning part of our salvation, and God’s grace , our gift that we get to choose to receive or not.
We spend Christmas emulating some of the things we hear from the Christmas story. The giving of gifts is the most popular, from the story of the wise men that brought Jesus gifts as a babe. We also celebrate his birth, the way we would celebrate the birth of a child today in our lives. We have a great feast, and celebrate with turkeys, hams, vegetables, and desserts. We pray in thanks for all that we have received, even to the thanking Jesus for what he did for our salvation.
But I think today, about the day that Jesus was born, and look at what He had to have known was coming, as an all knowing God, he knew the disbelief that would follow him. He knew the betrayal that would eventually occur. He knew where His life would lead Him, that He would eventually sacrifice Himself for our salvation, after doing nothing deserving of such punishment. And with all of that knowledge, He stepped into this world full of hatred, wickedness, pain, love, joy, fear, and hope. Even with the knowledge of what was coming, He loved us enough to step into all of that.
If I tried to put this into today’s terms, the only thing I can think of to compare it to is selling yourself into slavery. You would certainly make some friends through your years, as you all worked together. You would do some good work for whoever owned you, whether appreciated or not, and rewarded or not, depending on your owner at the time. But you would be selling yourself into knowing that you were going to die a slave, through no fault of your own, and it was likely to be in a cruel way. Now imagine you sold yourself into slavery, to save someone you loved. That by selling yourself, that the person you loved would never have to suffer, because of what you did. That was what Jesus did for us, that we forget about on Christmas, and remember on Easter. He gave himself into the hands of those that would eventually kill him, on that day over 2,000 years ago. It was the time he chose to come and be the sacrifice for us.
We remember this on Easter easily, but that was the end of His path. It was set into motion on the day of His birth, laid out before Him in a path that could not be deterred, at a set point from that night He was born. I know that Christmas is over today; that we’ve put away the leftovers, cleaned up the wrappings, and we’ve spent our time celebrating with our families. But, could you spend a little time today, thanking Jesus for that choice to be born? For the sacrifice He took on that day, for the benefit of all of us that choose to believe? What would you sacrifice for those you love today?