For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Sometimes we’re all tempted to skip to the end, whether in a long book or during the boring part of a movie. But when we do, we miss so much! We may even know the ending, but our sense of the story is incomplete. (Though, if it means Daddy can get in bed at a decent hour on Christmas Eve, as long as you can put the presents together correctly, it is okay to skip to the end of assembly manuals.)
But don’t skip to the end of the Christmas story. We have here a holiday dedicated to the incarnation of God, the Word become flesh. Don’t cheat. Don’t rob God of the story he’s written. And don’t rob yourself of the journey because you know how it ends. Maybe you’ve said it. I’ve probably said it. “Jesus came to die.” Well, yes and no.
Christmas is a celebration of the Messiah’s birth, the beginning of his earthly life. But he’s barely out of his swaddling cloths before we’re talking about his death. Yes, Jesus came to die, but what an incomplete statement! Had he only come to die, why didn’t he just appear on Good Friday, get on the cross, and be done with it? Because he also came to live!
There’s no separating Jesus’ perfectly obedient life from his sacrificial death. Had Jesus not lived a perfect life, he could not have died a death that would satisfy God’s demand for holiness. In other words, Jesus came to live without sin so his death would achieve all it’s intended to—salvation, but also righteousness (Romans 5:18-19).
Without the whole story, the ending doesn’t make sense. Don’t pass over the manger to go right to the cross. Appreciate the incarnation. Wonder over the Word become flesh. Reflect on the child who would grow up, be tempted, get hungry, cry, laugh, and live—but all without sin. Jesus came to live, to obtain a righteousness he could impute to us when we had only sin to impute to him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This Christmas don’t skip straight to Good Friday. Celebrate his birth, life, and obedience. Stop and celebrate Christmas!