You Can’t Have Christmas Without Death

Every year our church puts on a Children’s Christmas Program on Christmas Eve. The kids dress up as shepherds and sheep, angels and Wise Men, Mary and Joseph. The little ones are adorable and often funny as they recite their lines and sing their songs.

A few years ago, however, I got into a little trouble with the Children’s Christmas Program.

It wasn’t cute.

The first act featured a family on their way to Christmas dinner with grandpa and grandma. The two teenage daughters whined and complained the entire way because all their friends were going to a Christmas party that night, but they couldn’t go.

The second act took place in grandpa and grandma’s living room. Grandpa was sitting on his rocking chair and grandma on hers. All the little children sat on the floor, as the two teenage granddaughters slouched on the couch, texting on their phones defiantly.

As she did every year, grandma asked the children questions about the very first Christmas, allowing them to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. The two teenage granddaughters, however, never looked up from their phones.

The third act took place a year later, once again in grandpa and grandma’s living room. The little children again sat on the floor; the two teenage granddaughters on the couch. Grandpa sat on his rocking chair, but grandma’s rocking chair was conspicuously empty. The mood was somber. The teenage granddaughters sobbed with guilt.

A few people weren’t too happy about that Children’s Christmas Program. It wasn’t cute. It wasn’t funny. I mean, who wants to talk about death on Christmas Eve?

Yet you can’t have Christmas without death. Every year people die at Christmas. My grandmother died two years ago on December 23. Even when they don’t die right at Christmas, their absence is still sharply felt this time of year. Many homes this Christmas will feature an empty rocking chair in the living room.

Death is a part of life in this world. It invades our Christmas celebrations. All of us, at some point, will feel death’s sting during the holidays.

But that’s not why I say you can’t have Christmas without death.

You can’t have Christmas without death because Jesus was born to  do one thing. He was born to die. He was born in a barn in Bethlehem to die on a cross at Calvary.

You already know Christmas isn’t about Santa Claus or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. What some Christians fail to grasp is that Christmas also isn’t about a cute baby lying in a cute manger. Christmas is about God becoming one of us and taking his first steps to the cross.

Jesus was born to die. He was born to die for your sins. He was born to die so that you could live with him forever in heaven. You can’t have Christmas without death.

Yet Christmas isn’t about death. It’s about the life in heaven Jesus came to win for you.

When we truly grasp that, it changes how we look at the empty rocking chair in the living room. I miss my grandma, but she is in heaven. I will see her again. Because Jesus was born to die, I am forgiven for every dumb and hurtful thing I’ve ever done. Because Jesus was born to die, I will live even though I die.

That is the true joy and peace of Christmas. Christmas isn’t about a cute baby lying in a cute manger. Christmas definitely isn’t about cute Children’s Christmas Programs. Christmas is about God’s sacrificial love and the never-ending life Jesus came to win for you.

But that means you can’t have Christmas without death.

 

  8 comments for “You Can’t Have Christmas Without Death

  1. Kenneth
    December 24, 2017 at 7:13 am

    Merry Christmas Preacher. May Christ light shine ever so brighter on Christmas morning until eternity

    • schroera
      December 24, 2017 at 7:21 am

      Merry Christmas, Kenneth!!! God’s richest blessings today and always.

  2. Kim Lahaie Day
    December 24, 2017 at 7:36 am

    This is the 2nd time today my cheeks have been wet. Thank you for this posting. I have an empty chair in my home where my 21 year old son should be sitting, but for 16 years he has been sitting at Jesus’ feet. My friend sent me the first few lines from “Jerusalem, the Golden” this morning which prompted my first tears. Without Jesus’ birth, we would not have His death on the cross for our salvation so that we can also sit at His feet in eternal bliss.

    God’s blessings on your Christmas celebrations and services!

    • schroera
      December 24, 2017 at 4:16 pm

      Thank you, Kim!!! Have a blessed Christmas.

  3. Carol
    December 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Thank you for this message. My son died Aug 8 2017 – and this Holy season has been challenging. Faith and hope and family keep me going, but the hole in my heart feels so vast at times.
    Thank you for this inspired message for what my family is going through this year – we all will face at some point, and for the reminder of the mission and purpose of the Season. ♥️

    • schroera
      December 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Thank you, Carol, for your kind comments. You and your family will be in my prayers tonight. May God give you the true peace and joy of Christmas.

  4. Linda Zielke
    December 25, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Well said Andy! Have a blessed Christmas and New Year. God’s richest blessings to you and your family.

    • schroera
      December 25, 2017 at 7:28 am

      Thank you, Linda, to you as well!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *