The curiosity of the Christmas season
The Christmas season is one of those odd little perfect pictures that so vividly portrays the nature of God’s love for us.
Setting aside the obvious, just for one moment — that it is with this season we celebrate the birth of God’s son — take a moment to consider this entirety of this time of year.
Our streets are adorned with joy and the eager expectation of what the season might bring.
Tinsel twinkles and bells jingle and lights sparkle seemingly everywhere one might look.
But all around us — have you ever thought about this? — all around us, during this season of joy, are these subtle pictures of death.
The burnished autumn leaves have vacated our trees, leaving behind whitened twig and branch skeletons stretching skyward from the ground.
Our lush green fields have given way to hardened, barren ground.
And the overall palette of the season gives way from warm and vibrant to cold and lifeless.
From the beginning of creation, God has breathed into the world in such a way that life would continuously be brought forth from death.
It is a reset — these Winter months — new life always waiting right below the surface, right beyond the horizon — bound up in fallen seeds beneath our feet and wrapped tightly into teardrop-shaped buds clinging to bare limbs.
Creation just kind of takes a breath, and holds it.
Christmas, though — just like the extraordinary King born into that humble manger that night in Bethlehem — Christmas becomes this bright, shining respite of light in the darkness.
Life in the midst of death.
Hope where all else is barren.
Joy when all else is comparatively desolate.
It was Jesus who said, in John 12:24, “ … unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.”
And in that, He outlined the course of our salvation in Him.
From the very beginning, God has been painting the picture of how He would bring redemption into the world.
Scripture tells us in Psalm 53:2-3 that God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any who understood, who sought God. But every one had turned aside, together having become corrupt.
God looked upon creation and saw mankind dead in sin and transgression.
Dead. Barren. Desolate.
So God provided life, and hope, and joy.
He provided His Son, Jesus Christ — not just to live on this earth — but to die, and to rise again.
In that one truth — in claiming this truth — there is forgiveness of sin and victory over death.
In that one truth, there is life.
We celebrate a perfect life — true love — born in that manger during this season.
Life, surrounded by death.
Life, bound for death.
Life, sent to provide life eternal.
Understand that truth today, friend: You, God desires to make alive.
He is rich in mercy. His love for you personally is deeper than you can possibly imagine.
He offers you life, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward you.
And all of it is found in Jesus Christ — whose birth we celebrate in this season of death.
Joey Crandall is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Carson Valley.