Birthdays have been on my mind lately. Looking back, we made a trip back to Milwaukee at the end of November to join my mother, family and friends in the celebration of her 80th birthday. And looking forward, our youngest child will be eight at the end of the month. In a fashion similar to my mom, our daughter is busily making plans for a celebration. And being a pastor, and this being the month of December, Christmas is on my mind, the day that Christians celebrate as the birthday of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Birthdays have been on my mind, and none with more importance than the birthday of Jesus.
Our first Christmas card came in the mail today, and inside it was this verse, John 1:3.
“All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.”
John packs an awful lot into that single verse. He tells us that in the entire world, in the entire universe, and for all of the universe’s history, there isn’t anything that came into existence apart from Jesus. Everything that is, and everything that ever was, is and was because of Jesus.
My daughter, my mom, the people of the church I serve, the countryside where we live, the stars I see in the night sky. All things, in all times. Because of Jesus. Absolutely no exceptions.
And at Christmas we remember that Jesus, who brings all things into existence, entered our very world in a body, a body that was fully human in every way. We could say that every person is unique, but Jesus, as a living, breathing human, was unique in a way that was distinct from every other person. For is it was only Jesus who came into the world to be the Redeemer of the world. It was only Jesus who could take the sin that separated individual people from God, and through His death restore sinners to wholeness with God.
The life of Jesus is the only life that truly makes a difference in the world. Great people come and go. They do great things, sometimes things that are still felt for centuries after they lived. But only one person lived on earth in such a way as to make an eternal difference.
Unlike my mother, or my daughter, who have certificates stating the precise day of their birth, we don’t know the actual day or year of Jesus birth. So we pick the 25th of December, and on that day we remember and celebrate, with joy and thanksgiving, the one birthday in all of human history that truly has significance.
May it be your joy to know Jesus as your Savior and celebrate His birth this year.