What the Birth of Jesus Says About You

What the Birth of Jesus Says About You December 26, 2011

What the Birth of Jesus Says About You

The trimmings of the season were all around me duringmy devotions this morning, creating a strange setting in which to read thepassion narrative. But since that’s where my Bible reading plan has me thistime of year, that’s what I read—John 19:16-42. Surrounded by all theseasonal reminders of the birth of Christ, I read and pondered John’sdescription of the death of Christ. All at once I was struck by the paralleldetails in the two accounts, similarities I had never put together before.Here’s what I saw… 

Both are marked by stunning humiliation. We arefamiliar with the humiliations of His birth: the social status of His family,the rejection at the inn, the manger-bed. Those of His death are equally wellknown to us—the nakedness and mockery, the accompaniment by criminals, theabandonment by His friends, the disgrace of crucifixion. 

Both offer a special notification to others about whoJesus was. At Christ’s birth the special announcement came to the shepherds viathe angels. At His death it was via a sarcastic sign posted above His head byPontius Pilate. 

Both are accented by a high concentration of fulfilledprophecies; so high, in fact, that these two periods are the mostprophesy-intensive of His entire life. 

Finally, both offer unusual details about how He wasclothed and where He was laid. At both His birth and His death He was wrappedin linen cloths. In addition, both accounts are careful to tell us exactlywhere He was laid: in a manger at His birth and in a friend’s tomb at Hisdeath. 

So what’s the point of it all? I believe these detailsare hints that we ought to see the birth of Christ in light of the death ofChrist. The romantic details of Bethlehemforeshadow the horrific details of Golgotha.In other words, we miss the point of Christ’s birth if we don’t recognize thepoint of His death. Oddly though, these details have directly oppositeeffects on some people. Some who love the humiliation of His birth scoff at thehumiliation of His death. Some find the “swaddling clothes” romantic but theburial shroud repulsive. 

What about you? These parallels are meant to forge anunbreakable link between Christ’s birth and His death. Do you rejoice at Hisbirth but scoff at His death? Or do you worship at His birth precisely becauseit points you to His death?