So I'm a pretty huge fan of the rock band Flyleaf - at least, I was when Lacey Sturm was still their lead singer (I feel like a bad person for saying this, but once she left, I just kind of...lost interest). That being said, I'm so happy that Lacey's making her own music, especially stuff like the song above.
The song is called "Mercy Tree," and it's about the Cross of Jesus's crucifixion. I guess that means this song is more appropriate for Easter rather than Christmas, but I've always been one to mix up the natural order of things.
I cry just about every time I watch this music video because of how powerful it is. Lacey sings with so much passion and joy that I can't help but get caught up in it. But the message is what captures me the most, and what I want to talk about now.
Christmas is a time of peace, of giving, of joy and gladness. It's a time for us to reflect on our Savior's birth, when God fulfilled a promise that His people had waited for through centuries of time. Our focus is fixed on the innocence of that humble baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
I like to think ahead, though, past the visions of a peaceful, hopeful, bright, happy manger scene that years of Sunday school as a little kid gave me. As sorrowing as it is, I like to think about that baby's destiny.
We're all born to eventually die, but few of us are born to be brutally crucified.
We all like to think about the part of Jesus's life that's easy to think about - His birth, happy Mary and Joseph, shepherds, wise men, a star. But to turn our attention to the statement above, that Jesus was born to be crucified, because of the sins we can't help but commit?
That's a harder topic to reflect on.
I'm not saying that Christmas shouldn't be spent rejoicing over the birth of Christ and enjoying peace. Jesus's birth was meant to be a beautiful thing - a promise of eternal redemption, of atonement for sin, of grace upon grace. But I do think it's healthy, spiritually, to also reflect on the reason behind the promise: that we, fallen humans, would be eaten alive by our own sin if God didn't send His Son for our redemption. That we, sinners, are whom Jesus left the perfect presence of God to commune and break bread with (Mark 2:15-17). And that we, the broken, cannot mend ourselves.
Two-thousand years ago, a baby was born to die, and a promise was fulfilled. Hope entered people's hearts like a bright light, then fled at the Cross, then returned when Jesus came back to life. Two-thousand years ago, humanity was graced with a baby who was fully human, fully God, and would one day hang naked on a cross, flesh shredded, hands and feet stabbed through with nails, a crown of thorns rent onto His head as blood ran in rivulets down the rough wood.
Pure, innocent blood, the blood of a sacrifice so desperately needed to save us all.
Two-thousand years ago, a baby was born, and because of it, death met its demise, and love won.
Because of it, we're free to celebrate peace and hope.
Because of it, we're eternally redeemed. And all we have to do is believe.
So, my dear readers, merry Christmas.