Friday, December 25, 2015

The Cost of Christmas

   Merry Christmas! It's late Christmas night, and I hope everyone had a great Christmas today! I'm going to spend one more day talking about Christmas and hope no one shoots me for talking about Christmas on the 26th.

    We have plenty of songs to memorialize our thoughts about this day, songs that paint a mental picture. "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head, the stars in the sky looked down as He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay." There's an example of a classic Christmas song that paints a beautiful picture of our Saviors birth as a peaceful, pretty time.

    Again, I want to point us to a part of Christmas we prefer not to look at amid the incredible gifts that are our Savior's Advent. Christmas, the time we celebrate such enormous gifts to mankind was the time when our Lord was suffering an enormous cost.

    The picture we see in the song above paints a pretty picture of the manger scene, does it not? Clear skies, the baby Jesus peacefully sleeping in a manger of fragrant, golden hay, with softly mooing animals all around, right?

    Not a whole lot in common with a screaming teenage girl giving birth to a baby with no pain medicine on a manure stained, muddy floor. Or the newborn baby Jesus wrapped in stained, muddy rags and laid in a crude trough. Same picture? I don't think so.

    See, the advent of our Lord came at brutal cost to Himself. The reason this time of year is so incredible is, in fact, because of the incredible story it tells! The idea of God becoming man is so radical that it is unbelievable, but why? Why is it a crazy concept?

    Exactly because of the brutal cost to Himself. It's a crazy idea because we all can see, realize it or not, that God becoming man is an incredible humiliation, an insane demotion! And even aside from the obvious cost of Christ's advent (His death), we must examine that in coming as our Savior, His coming was at brutal cost to Himself.

    His coming was not peaceful or beautiful. It was not "silent night, holy night". It was a brutal night in a war-torn world. It was not a painless labor for Mary that night. It was not a care-free, relaxing night for Joseph. It was a wild night, a crazy night, a night the impossible happened.

    I don't say any of this to make us feel guilt or overly somber this Christmas season. I say this only to deepen our appreciation for what the advent of Christ means. The cost of our redemption was indeed very high. It just wasn't high for us; it was the lifeblood of our God. The cost was incredibly high for Him.

    This Christmas (even if it's the day after Christmas), remember. The story of Jesus is not the story of peaceful sleep. It's the story of the wild God of the universe who broke ever rule for how God behaves with humans; He became us. To reveal Himself to us, to free us, He became us. At an extraordinary cost to Himself, both at His birth and in His death, He sacrificed Himself, for the benefit of His creation. That is Christmas!

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