As a Christian, I can rejoice in and see the true meaning of Easter and its impact on me and my life. Christ’s giving of Himself in death and His Resurrection are part of who I am and live in my very being.
Christmas, well Christmas is a joy-filled season. It is the birth of Jesus, so of course it is important to us as Christians. But sometimes, it is easy to lose sight – in the midst of an often stressful season – of what Christmas is really about.
I found myself praying through this during Advent and on through this Christmastime, and wondering what exactly it is about Christmas that is so truly amazing – as amazing as Easter – and how that plays out in my life today.
I don’t have THE answer. Maybe I never fully will in this life. But something struck a chord with me in those prayer times over Advent and Christmas, and I wanted to share it with you:
Christmas is about the sacrifice of Christ’s life. About His humbling Himself in the mundane.
You see, perhaps it is because of my experience of cancer, but I feel fairly comfortable with the idea of giving up my death for God. I do not fear death, I see it as a coming home, and I do not have a problem with offering up that death to the Lord. It will only happen once (unless there is resurrection involved of course!)
But life… well, that almost requires more of me. And I really struggle with it.
The daily giving of yourself, the offering of your life every moment, the giving up of dreams, the stripping back of self, the humbling mundanity of day-to-day life. That is the hardest bit.
And Jesus did it.
Some days, the rinse and repeat rhythm of daily life with young children is really mundane. It doesn’t feel like a glorious vocation like the one being lived by saints and missionaries who are watching God heal incurable illnesses or feeding the poor or raising the dead. In comparison, it can feel so tiny, so insignificant, so human.
But for 30 years, God Himself lived in that place. The One who created the Earth, the Universe, and all it contains, spent decades living family life. The One who dug majestic valleys, was born in a smelly, dirty stable. The One who filled the oceans, scrubbed the floors of His tiny home. The One who carved the mountains, sanded tables as an apprentice in the family business. The One who carefully shaped all of the food nature has to offer, helped prepare the family meal. The One who breathed life into man, engaged in small talk with children. The One who is The Word, listened respectfully to teachers and elders.
Jesus spent 30 years giving of Himself in the small mundanity of day-to-day family life before He even started His ‘missionary work’.
And if God Himself could do that, if He could live in a world so small, in a life so tiny, then how little a thing He asks of me, to give of myself everyday in the smallness of life. To keep washing the dishes, doing the laundry, playing with my children, cooking our food, caring for our health, tidying the house, praying for our family. Because these things may be little and they may seem mundane, but they are the humbling, and the making, of me.
So as we celebrate Jesus’ birth and life this Christmas, I pray that we can all remember that this, too, was an unbelievable sacrifice on His part. And that this, too, is a sacrifice we are called to share in.
Merry Christmas everyone!