Jesus’ Birth – the Start of a Transformative Journey
Whatever your approach to the Christmas season, it is a time of change. We say farewell to the old year and start a new year with fresh ideas, dreams, and desires. We take a break for a few days from work and focus on family and friends. You could go all out and deck the halls, or you could object to Christmas completely. Either way or anything in between, Jesus’ birth changed the world, not because of a single event that many now celebrate at Christmas but because it started a chain reaction that would transform human thinking and worship. If we celebrate only the first step and do not engage in the process His birth started, our transformation remains stunted and our spirituality immature.
The whole story of Jesus transcends the glitter and glow. Philippians 3:8-10 invites us to delve into the transformative journey that Christmas initiates, a journey echoing the steps of our Savior and calling us to change our lives completely.
Step 1: Birth – Embracing New Life
In the quiet stillness of a manger, a profound truth unfolds—the birth of new life. Philippians 3:8 urges us to consider everything a loss compared to knowing Christ Jesus. Like a breath of fresh air, Christmas invites us to shed the burdens of the past, allowing the light of hope to penetrate our hearts. Just as a newborn enters the world with innocence, Jesus’ birth marks the beginning of our spiritual rebirth.
Step 2: Growth – Change is Needed
The story that unfolds even in the days directly after Jesus’ death radically changed the lives of Mary, Joseph, and anyone acquainted with Jesus. Right through His time on earth, whether a babe in a manger or a powerful teacher on a mountain, Jesus’ call was for us to leave our stubbornness and comfort and change how we exist, not just behave. The Gospel is about changing direction and embracing new thoughts in everything we encounter, in every moment.
Step 3: Death – The Call to Sacrifice
Amidst the festive feasts and joyful gatherings, let us remember the essence of the sacrifice. Many stop short at the Christmas story because that’s joy and wonder and warm fuzzy feelings. But those preparing for His birth, even at their first moment of revelation, had to immediately start sacrificing their comfort and dreams. Jesus started the process by sacrificing His position in the heavens to be with mankind. Philippians 3:10 beckons us to share in the sufferings of Christ, acknowledging that true transformation involves a willingness to sacrifice. As we exchange gifts and spread cheer, may our actions embody selflessness, echoing the sacrificial love that Christmas exemplifies. May we realize that this transformation process will cost us our lives.
Step 4: Resurrection – Unyielding Faith
The wonder of Jesus’ birth and God’s desire to start a transformative process that would completely express His Love mirrors the radiant truth of the resurrection. Philippians 3:9 challenges us to be found in Christ, our faith unwavering in the face of trials. Christmas whispers the promise that not even death can quench our faith. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, let our hearts resonate with the unyielding faith that springs forth from the hope of resurrection.
Step 5: Ascension – Operating as Kingdom Members
Beyond the tinsel and carols, Christmas invites us to ascend—to operate as kingdom members in our daily lives.
Jesus taught us a prayer that includes the line “…on earth as it is in heaven.” We don’t just pray that we live it. Jesus’ arrival was the highest expression of that prayer. He was on earth as He was in heaven. We operate on the same principle. We live by what Jesus has done to us by His arrival daily! We live on earth in a manner that reflects our heavenly position – a position that Jesus established for us. Philippians 3:20-21 paints a picture of eagerly awaiting our Savior from heaven. In this season of togetherness, let our interactions reflect the harmony of the heavenly kingdom. But let this season not just be a season in our lives but a way of life. Our receiving of Jesus and the acceptance of His arrival, as step 1 in our transformation, propels us towards a life that mirrors the divine.
When The Trees Come Down
Ultimately, Christmas is not merely a day on the calendar; it’s the initiation of a profound journey. As we unwrap the gifts and share in the laughter or go about our business because we prefer not to celebrate Christmas, let us celebrate Jesus’ arrival into a world that needed the transformation journey He brought. May we be reminded that Christmas is just the beginning—the birth pangs of a transformative process calling us to be reborn, change, sacrifice, believe, and ascend. This season, let us embrace the fullness of our journey, knowing that in each step, we draw closer to the heart of our Savior.