I don’t know about you, but there’s some excitement in our house about Christmas. In fact, we’re so excited about Christmas that we have four different countdowns going. There’s the Lego™ Advent Calendar, the digital advent calendar, a paper chain from Eli’s preschool class, and an Advent devotional book in the evening.
As we flip pages, build creations, or tear strips from the chain, the excitement grows. Soon, it will be Christmas day. There will be presents to open, family to see, and new toys to enjoy. We’ll have lots of fun mixed in with tears as overtired children lament the need to go to bed.
Standing on this side of Christmas, it feels like the end of the waiting can’t come soon enough. But we aren’t counting down to an ending, but rather a beginning:
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” Hebrews 10:5-7
Christmas is not significant as a destination, but as the start of a long journey. In the midst of the straw, swaddling cloths, sweat, blood and tears of Jesus’ birth is the shadow of the cross on the horizon. This beautiful baby boy arrived at just the right time—the moment that God had been preparing for hundreds of years prior to this—to begin a journey that would climax on the cross, but end with new life.
Christmas is a wonderful time to connect with family and friends, to worship, to celebrate, and to share gifts and fun times. But it’s also a time to lift our eyes to the horizon and glimpse the shadow of the looming cross, as well as the empty tomb. Praise be to God for this precious baby who would bring new life to you and me!