The season when lights sparkle, everyone gets excited for eggnog, and consumerism climbs. We remind ourselves that “Jesus is the reason for the season” but often find our focus is upon ourselves rather than upon Jesus Himself.

While I love Christmas – the sights, the smells, family time, and giving gifts – I realized that this season is marked by death not just birth.

I’ve been reading through the Gospels lately and this week happen to be finishing Luke. It has been a rich meditation as I’ve found myself reading about the death of Christ the week leading up to the time we celebrate His birth. And it hit me – Christmas is not just about Christ’s birth, but about His death as well.

Sure, we read about the incarnation (God coming to earth as a human), we sing songs to remind us that Jesus is our focus (and that all we want for Christmas is our two front teeth), and we exchange gifts in remembrance of the One who gave the ultimate gift on our behalf … we celebrate the birth and life of Christ during this season, but we quickly forget that the purpose of Christ’s birth is His death.

We shouldn’t downplay His birth – the Gospels are packed with the incredible reality of His nativity – but we shouldn’t forget that His birth was merely the precursor for history’s greatest moment: His sacrifice and atonement on the Cross.

Yes we should celebrate today. We should spend time reflecting the condescension of God on our behalf. We should skip about, throw snow in the air, and sing songs worthy of our King – for today we celebrate His coming.

But let us not forget that it does not end at the birth. The birth was to lead us to His purpose: the cross, our salvation, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We now have the opportunity to have oneness and intimacy with this heavenly King once found as a little babe in a manger. But only because in the birth of Christ we find His true intention – His death … paying our penalty, making a way unto the Father.

Could it be that He is calling each of us to such a life – finding life in the midst of death? Could it be that He is asking each of us to give up the rights to our own lives so that He might give us His life through the death of our flesh (old man, self, carnal nature)?

May your Christmas be full of Jesus – being filled with His Spirit.

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