I was thinking about the Christmas story this last week. It's about a birthday, right? Jesus's birthday. But He's God, so he didn't really need a birthday. So why on earth would we celebrate a birthday, and why did He have one in the first place?
Well, as one of my favorite Christmas songs says "WE are the reason" - His birth was about more than shepherds and wisemen, Mary, Joseph, and the angels. He came so that 33 years later He could die. But why? I understand celebrating a birthday, but celebrating a death? Certainly we honor a person's memory when they die - but celebrating death? That seems wrong....
But try this - His death was about a birthday.
Do you remember that midnight conversation Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus? It's the famous verse we all know "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have eternal life." Jesus explained to Nicodemus what being "born again" meant - essentially to have a second birthday - being born as a child of God...
Or to put it into terms that are dear to me - to be adopted into God's family. You see God's been in the business of adoption all along. Just as a baby or child comes to their true, forever family to be loved, cared for, and protected, when we choose to be born again, we come home to our forever Father. We leave behind our sinful, incomplete, imperfect selves, and become new - like Him - we take on the characteristics of our Father. Adopted children may not look like their families, but they can certainly take on personalities and character traits. It's the same with us when we are adopted into the family of God.
So as we celebrate His birth this Christmas, it means more than that to me. I celebrate His birth because it made a way for me to be adopted into His family and into my forever home in Heaven. I celebrate His birth because it led to His death. I celebrate His birth because He gave His all for me.
God knows how it feels to give a child up - and He knows how it feels to welcome new children into His family. He knows how it feels to wait for something. He knows how it feels to grieve. He knows the overwhelming joy of finally seeing that child face to face.
I wish you blessings this Christmas - and the miracle of finding a reason to celebrate. Whether Christmas is an easy time for you or not, rest assured that God knows and sees your situation, and He understands and cares. The joy of His Son's sacrifice is that we can know Him and offer our cares to Him to carry on His shoulders.
Merry Christmas and a most Blessed New Year!