Quieting my mind enough to reflect on what is important is not easy this time of year. The Christmas season is filled with distractions. Christmas plays, Christmas parties, and Christmas shopping demand attention. But what is this season really about?
Recently, I spent a few minutes in a friend’s hospital room where he is recovering from surgery. Seeing his pain brought to mind the suffering of another. A young woman, barely a teenager, suffered in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago as she brought our Comforter into this world. Her child was God in the flesh: Jesus Christ. God entered this world as a baby to experience our frailties, pain, and temptations—everything human, except sin.
Jesus was limited, but by his own choice. Not only did he feel our normal pains and difficulties. He experienced agony on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. The sinless God-man bore our sin. On our behalf, He took the wrath of his Father. He did it all for us.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
—2 Corinthians 5:21
Our word excruciating is taken from Latin. Ex cruciatus means, literally, out of the cross. Jesus knew pain.
But His agony began something wonderful. Three days after His death, He rose from the grave to show us that death is not the end. He has sent his Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to indwell those who trust in Him. Let Him be your Comforter this Christmas.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, it is my prayer that you will begin that relationship this Christmas.
* Post image: Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst