That’s right. Would Christmas be what it is today if Jesus never died and rose again? We talk of the birth of Jesus being God’s gift to the world, but the gift didn’t really become the gift until after He died and rose again. It’s like a packet of seeds. Has anyone ever given you a packet of seeds as a gift? Was the seed the gift in and of itself, or was it only the gift when it died six inches in the ground and then grew into the plant or tree it was intended to grow into? Jesus was God’s gift to the world, but that gift had to still grow to fulfill the purpose it was given. If Jesus hadn’t died and rose again, then Christmas would not be remembered today. Really. Think about it. If Jesus hadn’t died and rose again then there would truly be nothing to remember about Christmas. So, when people try to remove Jesus from Christmas they really don’t understand what it is that they are doing. It’s one thing to remember that Jesus is the ‘reason for the season’, but if we don’t remember what it is that He did for us some 33 years later, then we don’t truly comprehend the full magnitude and scope of God’s gift to us.
Many people have no problem remembering the ‘babe in the manger’, and people go bonkers over Christmas remembering Him in the manger, but most people then ignore what it is that He did for us 33 years later. As long as Jesus remains in the manger then it’s safe. People don’t have to change the way they live or to have a reason to surrender their lives to Him. People don’t want Jesus to interfer with their life.
I recently watched a series of videos and a movie called, Not A Fan. In these the narrator defines the difference between a follow of Jesus and a fan of Jesus. A fan of Jesus is one who follows Him only until He begins to interfer with their lives, at which time they no longer follow Him. But, a follower of Jesus follows Him no matter the cost, and no matter how He ‘interfers’ with their lives and their goals and agendas for life. So, having said that, a fan is one who gets excited about Jesus in the manger but have problems when He gets out. And, a follower is one who celebrates Jesus coming in the manger, but their focus is on the only road to follow which leads to the cross, and the transforming change the empty tomb brings to them.
So, which one are you??? Are you keeping Jesus in the manger, or are you remembering that He didn’t really become the gift God intended Him to be until 33 years later.
Copyright 2012 – John Johansson