“Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled…”
(Matthew 2:17 NIV)
For many during that time, the night that Christ was born was much like the nights prior.
The people of that day were living their lives without honor for the sacred and holy laws that God had given them.
The birth of Jesus was necessary but only because, much like today, sin rather than righteousness had become the language of the culture.
This isn’t the version of the Christmas story upon which we often reminisce because it isn’t the version that is coated with sugar as much as salt. It isn’t as palatable to remember the condition of the world that broke God’s heart so much that He sent the only perfect being made in His image to our imperfect world, His Son Jesus. Understanding the setting, scene, and severity of sin in the world during the time of Jesus’ arrival are critical to truly celebrating His birth, death, and resurrection.
God intentionally chose the name Immanuel because He was no longer simply watching us, warning us, and waiting for us to get it right. He was with us.
The celebration of Christmas is less about Him being born in a manger and more about Him being born because we matter. God came to be with us because He didn’t want our world to be without Him.
The stable was a symbol of the world He was entering. The stench from the animals was much like the stench of the world. The uncleanliness of the manger was like the uncleanliness of sin. The search from inn to inn represented the search for those that would follow Jesus or turn Him away. But his birth represented the hope that He would deliver to the world because He was born in lowliness, yet rose in righteousness.
As beings created in His image, we have the ability to be bearers of His good work or the work of the enemy’s. We get to choose. However, we don’t have the ability to save ourselves from eternal destruction–only He does.
We celebrate Christmas because it is the night God sent His Son, in the form of a baby who was found lying in a manger, to save us. Jesus’ cry of life redeemed our cries for life.
As we end this devotional, I want you to take some time and read the Christmas story. Consider why Jesus came, what He did, and why we serve Him. And most importantly remember, Christmas isn’t about a silent night; it’s the night He broke the silence.