What is most touching about the Christmas story is the sacrifice that God made when He sent His Son. How many of us would be willing to give up our only Son for people that often do not care and constantly hurt us? A sacrifice, by definition, is not giving up something bad but something good. God gave up His only Son to show His love for us.
Among the many things that tell us that the cost of salvation is not cheap is the story of the Israelites in the Old Testament. Back in the day when the Jews were slaves in Egypt, the Egyptians paid a huge price when God extended His wrath on them. If you recall, from the book of Exodus, ten plagues came on the land - each one a little bigger and more devastating than the last. What I find intriguing in the history is that each plague specifically attacked and destroyed one of the Egyptian gods. The final plague was the death of the firstborn. It was no small thing that God killed every firstborn in Egypt and He did not want the Israelites to ever forget. And that’s why God established the Passover feast. They were to remember that God passed over them when he killed the firstborns.
Likewise, it was no small thing when God gave up His firstborn for our salvation. Often, at this time of year we are encouraged to remember not the baby in a manger but the man on the cross. And that’s important because the reason Jesus came was to die for our sins. However, it is easy for us to detach ourselves from the death on a cross. It should tug on our heartstrings however, when we look at the baby and know that He is going to die for us all.
God is big on memorials, or remembering the past. Part of the Passover celebration includes a brief ceremony where a child asks, “Why do we do this?” And the head of the household then retells the story of their exodus out of Egypt.
Whenever we gather as a church, we have a communion service. This service was set up by Jesus the night before he died to remind us of what God was going to do on the cross. We drink a little cup of juice and eat a small piece of a cracker. Whenever we do that, someone should ask, “Why are you doing that?” And our answer comes directly from the lips of Jesus who said, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
We partake of the loaf and the cup to remember the sacrifice God made. What more appropriate time to remember than now as we celebrate the birth of God’s Son, Jesus?