born to die

This has been a most busy Christmas, and it’s been difficult for me to keep my focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  But, when I’ve had a chance to rest and ponder the reason for Christ’s birth as a baby in Bethlehem, it’s hit me stronger than ever before in my life.  Perhaps it’s that I’ve never been as aware of my sinfulness and need for a Savior as I have been this past year.  And when you know just how much you need a Savior, how wretched of a person you truly are, and how – no matter how hard you try – you so often fail at living a life that reflects Christ’s love for you, you realize that that baby lying in the manger came — to die.

I guess that’s why I’m not a big fan of Santa Claus.  The topic of Santa Claus came up on Facebook a few weeks ago, and friends of mine who consider themselves Christian parents wrote about why they do or do not do Santa Claus with their children.  For me, knowing why Jesus came to earth, to make Christmas just about Santa Claus, or in the larger context, to make Christmas just about generosity and good-heartedness seems so … trite.  I know my children don’t truly understand now why the fact that Jesus was born makes a big difference.  That’s okay; I don’t expect them to really “get” it.  But it’s enough that they know that Jesus is the reason for the season.  As they grow in their Christian faith, they will better understand why Jesus is what Christmas is all about.

Last night in our church’s Christmas Eve service, I sang the John Jacob Niles carol “I Wonder as I Wander.”  So, on this Christmas Day evening, here is my Christmas thought to my few, faithful readers:

I wonder as I wander out under the sky
How Jesus the Savior did come for to die
For poor or’nery people like you and like I.
I wonder as I wander out under the sky.

Christ’s arrival on earth was such an act of love for humankind, for poor ornery people like you and certainly like me!  May we all grow in greater depth and appreciation of his amazing love not just this Christmas, but all our lives long.

Wishing you all a merry Christ-mas,