Tuesday, December 23, 2008

C.J. Mahaney on the Disturbing Nature of Christmas

While taking a brief break from preparing the Christmas Eve message for tomorrow night's service, I came across this helpful blogpost on the Disturbing Nature of Christmas. I commend the entire post, but to whet your appetite here is a juicy quote:

During this time of year, it may be easy to forget that the bigger purpose behind Bethlehem was Calvary. But the purpose of the manger was realized in the horrors of the cross. The purpose of his birth was his death.

Or to put it more personally: Christmas is necessary because I am a sinner. The incarnation reminds us of our desperate condition before a holy God.
This is a helpful reminder that if we preach the birth of Jesus without reference to his death and resurrection for our sins we are actually presenting a distorted picture of what Christmas is actually about.

May we all grow in our awe and wonder that God would take on flesh and be born in a filthy stable/cave to save sinners from the fury of his wrath that we deserve for our rebellion against him.

1 comment:

Tom Gilson said...

A late but hopefully not too-late response: T.S. Eliot caught some of the disturbing nature of Christmas in The Journey of the Magi. At the risk of diluting the whole poem's power, I'll quote an excerpt from the end of it:

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.