The church, and much of the Western world, celebrates the arrival of a baby boy in the Middle East. We call it Christmas, and it is an event worth celebrating. But maybe we’ve got it mixed up…
Maybe we should be celebrating more at this time of the year than we do at Christmas. Because as remarkable as Christmas is, it pales in comparison to the season that’s right in front of us. The Advent (or arrival) of God’s Son is only the warm-up for what he would go on to accomplish 30 some years later. At Easter we remember Jesus’ sacrificial, substitutionary death on our behalf, and his triumphant resurrection and victory over the power of death.
To put it in comparison, it would be like looking at someone’s baby picture on Facebook, and then comparing it to their LinkedIn profile. The first one is memorable (and maybe even cute), the second one is how they’ve impacted the world, and possibly our own lives.
Now before you fire up your keyboard and comment on the significance of Jesus’ birth, let me say this: I’m not dismissing the significance of his arrival. It was the fulfillment of prophecy, the implementation of God’s plan for restoration, the demonstration of the Father’s love for his creation, and on and on. That’s why the angels announced it and sang, “Glory to God in the highest…” When he arrived, it was, quite literally, “God with us.” Emmanuel. That’s something worth celebrating and remembering!
But if it ended there it would be a very different story.
Instead, we can look past the baby picture, examine the LinkedIn profile, and see what Jesus accomplished.
- He grew up in a forgettable village
- He lived a remarkable life as a young adult
- He cultivated a revolutionary community of love
- He spoke truth to power in a power-hungry and power-abusive environment
- He took on himself the weight of all our sin.
- He carried it to the grave, and conquered sin, death, and fear
- He rose again and invited any and all to a new kind of life
And that is what makes all the difference. For me. For you. For anyone who will follow him.
So no matter how cute the baby picture is, it’s the LinkedIn profile that changed my life. And maybe yours. Which brings me back to the celebration. Maybe we should be exchanging gifts at Easter. Because that’s the event that we must not ever forget.
This year, maybe the best Easter gift you can give is to invite someone to hear the story of Jesus and the offer he makes. Who will you invite this year?
– Pastor Mark
P.S. If you’re not sure who to invite, or how to do that, why not pray and ask God to show you. I’m pretty sure he has some ideas, and I KNOW he is capable of communicating to any of us.