“Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a penny in the old man’s hat” goes a classic Christmas song we used to sing as a kid. Not sure where it came from, but I’m pretty sure it’s British since it also talks about hay pennies and stuff. I might be wrong. But that’s not the point of this post.
There’s something ugly about Christmas that we miss sometimes. We think about the beautiful 6 pound 8 ounce baby Jesus born on that first Christmas morning but we forget about the rest of what he did for us. We forget why he truly came. Yes, the songs sing about salvation, but there’s something more to it. There’s something more to Christmas than just Jesus coming to save people from their sins. There’s the ugliness of suffering. There’s the ugliness on how he suffered.
Jesus “Who, in being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God soething to be used to his his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking on the very nature of the servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7
Jesus came down. Jesus, who the very nature God, took of himself and came down to live amongst us.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made. I him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind…He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.” John 1:1-4, 11
He wasn’t accepted. He was rejected by those he came for. This child born that first Christmas morning, was born in order that he might die. He was born to suffer. He was born to be rejected. He was born to be hurt. He was born to be marginalized. All His life he suffered.
(I’m going to get all Reformed here, just a warning)
He suffered for us. What does that mean?
“That during His whole life on earth…Christ sustained in body and soul the anger of God against the sin of the whole human race.” Heidelberg Catechism Lord’s Day 15, Q&A 37
From the very moment he was born he suffered. Jesus who was in perfect harmony and love as the Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, took of Himself and came down and lived amongst us. He was despised and rejected. He came as an obedient servant and went willingly to the cross.
When we celebrate the Christmas season, we picture this tiny little baby, laying in a manger. That is just one event. To tell the truth, Christmas doesn’t just celebrate Jesus’ birth, it remembers His life and looks forward to His coming again. The ugliness of Christmas is that between his birth and coming again, he suffered and died. He suffered from the beginning.
“Surely he took upon our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
Isaiah spoke of this suffering servant, who is Jesus, and how we would treat Him. In the ugliness of Christmas, we treat Him as this cute baby, not as the suffering servant. We need to remember that this little child who had to have his poopy diapers changed, suffered from day one and suffered to the end. He suffered for you, he suffered for me.
He was treated like he was ugly yet he is precious. He was treated like He was an outcast, yet He brought in all those who were misfits into His loving care. He was despised and rejected, yet through Him we are accepted. Because he suffered, we don’t have to anymore.
Enjoy Christmas. Remember His suffering. Know that there is an ugliness to Christmas that we ignore. In the middle of the buying of presents, giving gifts, and helping out those in need, remember His suffering for you. Remember the ugliness of Christmas and know it was for you.