If your Christmas season is like mine, it’s full.
- The schedule is full of Christmas parties and programs.
- The base of the Christmas tree is full of presents.
- The DVR is full of Hallmark Christmas movies.
- The mailbox is full of Christmas cards and… what? … more packages from Amazon.
- The stomach is full of too much turkey, dressings, pumpkin pie, and that weird green jello salad that shows up every year.
Admittedly, I love having a Christmas full like that. (Note: The DVR full of Hallmark movies is my wife’s doing.) But I realize that fullness is largely focused on me, my family, and my friends.
There’s an empty side of Christmas we should remember, though. It begins on a note of fullness.
“But when the set time had fully come,God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4).
The significance of what God did in the fullness of time can best be expressed by considering the emptiness that accompanies Christmas.
Christ emptied Himself.
“Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:5-7).
With our abundance of Nativity sets depicting the baby Jesus surrounded by cows and sheep (and a serene mother who does not look like she just gave birth), we lose sight of the fact that nine months earlier, Jesus was on the throne of heaven, reigning over the universe He spoke into existence. He is God, but in this moment, He chose to empty Himself and take on the limits of a human body. He emptied Himself of all the trappings of His glorious and sovereign rule.
So now at Christmas, we see the omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign God of the universe lying in a manger. Unfortunately, after Christmas, we too often leave Him there, and forget …
The Empty Manger.
I’ve blogged about this before (click here), but too often Christmas comes and goes—and we leave Jesus in the manger until next Christmas. But Jesus grew. He came with a purpose: to show us God and to bring us to God. The only way He could bring us to God was to remove the barrier—our sin—and that meant going to the cross. Jesus left the manger to ultimately go to the cross.
The Empty Cross.
Of course, Jesus didn’t stay on the cross. He died—and with His death He fully accomplished His mission. Our sin was removed, and we are forgiven. But it doesn’t stop there.
The Empty Tomb.
Jesus’ death on the cross is only half the story. God raised Jesus to life, never to die again. His death removed the penalty of our own death, and His resurrected life is shared with us in that we can have eternal life—not just a life of quantity (going on forever), but a life of quality.
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9).
Jesus emptied Himself so we could become full. Now that’s a Christmas present.