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“He took our nature in Bethlehem to die our death in Jerusalem.”

-John Piper

I saw this for the first time a few years ago, and it has shaped my view of Christmas. At this time of year it’s so easy to get distracted.

We get busy with plans. We get busy with shopping. We get busy with decorating. We are just busy, and I think it’s to our detriment.

I sat in Christmas Eve service yesterday and this quote was all I could think. I know this is the time of year to celebrate the coming of our King. I know that. I love Christmas, but sometimes I love things about it more than I love the reason for it.

When I think about the reason for it, I have to pause and see that I needed Jesus and He came to save me. He had to come. He had to live blamelessly, and I needed that sweet babe born in a manger to die for me.

This quote pushed me to realize how much Christmas is less about everything we make it about and more about Easter. He had to come, and oh my heart celebrates this day and season; I also have to remember to look down the road to see the debt He paid.

If I can do that, I can know that He came knowing that there would be Easter, and He came anyway. God knew when He sent His Son there would be a time He would be separated from Him while the world was cloaked in darkness. He still sent Him though. He still came. For me. He still came for you.

When I look at Christmas that way, I think it becomes more beautiful. I think we have to get beyond the distractions and remember that He didn’t just come so we could celebrate His birth; He came so He could die our death.

My heart is beyond grateful for knowing this. My voice couldn’t sing all the words in worship yesterday as my soul cried out in a bigger way in gratitude for Christ who came and God who sent Him; they always knew there would be a cross in Jerusalem, and they always knew there would be a me who would someday look up and see what that cross accomplished.

I am beyond gratitude this Christmas, and I have a new depth of reverence and joy for this season. I hope that joy fills and warms you too!

Merry Christmas!