Born That Man No More May Die
The essence of Christmas is the gospel. Without the gospel Christmas is just another exercise in superficial sentimentality, American consumerism, and unmet expectations. Understood rightly, however, Christmas is one of the richest and most meaningful seasons of the year; a time of deep reflection upon the seriousness of the sinful human condition, and the glorious wonder of God’s love and salvation. A Savior was born in Bethlehem— Christ the Lord.
In the Garden of Eden after the fall, our first parents sought to cover up their nakedness [read: guilt and shame] with fig leaves. It was a lame attempt to hide that which cannot be hidden, and to pacify their troubled consciences. Instead of humbly confessing their sin and throwing themselves upon God’s mercy, they hid from God, shifted blame, and devised their own way of salvation. Mankind has been doing this ever since, and Christmas time is no exception.
Don’t misunderstand, I love the Christmas season and all of the usual trappings that come with it— the special visits with family and friends, the fragrant live tree adorned with meaningful ornaments and twinkling lights, the tasty baked goods, the exchange of gifts, the sappy movies, the cheerful music, and the consideration given to the underprivileged. But if we are not careful these Christmas trappings can easily become distractions from the true meaning of Christmas, and fig leaves in the vain attempt to cover our mountain of sin, guilt, and shame. Christmas can even be used as a means to hide from God. But we don’t need to hide from God at Christmas or any other time of the year. A Savior has come.
Since the fall, mankind has been hiding from God and trying to cover up his sin and guilt with fig leaves of all shapes and sizes. The glory of Christmas is that God sent His beloved Son into the world to bring us out of shameful hiding and back into a right relationship with God. He came to provide us with a true covering for sin. Supernaturally conceived and born of the virgin Mary, Jesus became flesh (one of us) without ceasing to be God. He was and is the only true mediator between Holy God and sinful humanity— the perfect representative of God to man and of man to God. He perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of God’s law on our behalf, and as a spotless lamb gave up his life as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. From the cradle to the cross to the empty tomb Jesus’s mission was and is to reconcile sinners to God.
This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
who in all need shall aid afford;
he will himself your Savior be
from all your sins to set you free.
~ Martin Luther
There’s no need to keep making fig leaves and hiding from God. Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring us back into a right relationship with God, and to provide for us— by faith— the forgiveness and righteousness necessary for eternal life. Now that’s something worth rejoicing in at Christmas! Jesus was born that man no more may die!