The birth of Christ is indeed worthy of celebration. It marks the moment God stepped into history to make a way for the salvation of humanity. We rejoice and sing majestic carols to the King of Kings, and marvel at the miracle of His birth and the subsequent sinless life He led. But perhaps because of all the pageantry in our celebrations, we overlook that while the birth of Christ was glorious, the fact is Jesus was born to die.
His life on earth would last a scant thirty-three years. Three decades after marveling at His birth, His mother would mourn His death. Jesus came so we might live, but the only way to give us that life would cost Him His own.
There is no doubt Jesus knew He was born to die. His life was a picture of passion and mission. Before Christ was even a teenager, we see Him being about His Father’s business sitting among the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:43-49). Our Lord walked every day amid suffering, disease, and sin. He saw the filthiness imparted by sin surrounding Him and it grieved Him deeply. Jesus wept over the state of the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44). He was called the man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3). From the moment He took His first step, Jesus knew He was born to die. He was born to sacrifice Himself for our sins.
Before you get too caught up in celebrating this Christmas day, reflect on the bigger picture. Jesus was born to die. He was born, so we might live. The birth of Jesus is as much about our salvation as the resurrection is. Without His birth, there would be no crucifixion. Without His death on the cross, He could have never defeated death and risen again. These are all pieces of the same majestic redemption story God has been telling since the very beginning. The real hope comes not in the birth of Christ, but in the rebirth into Christ provided by His sinless life and perfect sacrifice.
Just as Jesus was born to die, so too are we called to die to ourselves every day (Luke 9:23-24). Our lives are no longer our own. We have been bought at a price, and that price was Jesus sacrificing Himself on the cruel cross at Golgotha (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; John 3:16; 1 John 2:1-2). His once for all death demands we die daily. Each morning we must put to death our desires, ambitions, and selfish lusts. The life we now live is in Christ alone (Galatians 2:20). If we aren’t willing to die to ourselves, there is no point in celebrating the birth of Jesus.
Without His death and resurrection, the birth of Christ means nothing. We can’t celebrate His birth without thinking of His death. Jesus was born to die. He was born so He could live the life we never could. That precious baby in the manger we all praise was born to shed the blood that would cover all our sins. This Christmas, celebrate His wonderful and majestic birth. But don’t forget why He was born. Never forget the rest of the story. Rejoice, but be sober-minded. Jesus was born to die, and so are we.