When the time was fully set, God sent His son, born of a woman, born under the law with a very specific purpose. But why did God send Jesus? Why did God need Christmas?
It was to do what laws and regulations could not do. It was to do what judges and prophets could not do. It was to do what exile and punishment could not do. It was to do what even sacred text could not accomplish. God was ready to do something personal, and a message or a messenger wouldn’t get it done. So God needed to do something relational, and in order to get it done, God needed Christmas.
Think about it. How would we know where we stood with God if God had not come to stand with us? A message wouldn’t get it done. So, at just the right time, God staged a demonstration, because we know, and God knows, actions speak louder than words.
As Paul writes in a letter to the Christians in Rome, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Jesus’s death was a demonstration of how much He was for us. But this brings up another question, and this is a question perhaps you’ve asked, and weren’t sure, you could ask this out loud. Why in the world did Jesus have to die? It’s confusing enough that God crammed Himself into a baby body, but why did He have to die? Why such a violent and public demonstration? Why couldn’t Jesus just pronounce everybody forgiven? Couldn’t He get them all on the hillside and say, “Okay, before I go, one last thing. Everyone is forgiven. All of your sins are forgiven. You can have eternal life. You can go to heaven when you die. Spread the good news.'”
No one would have taken Him seriously, and His words would have never survived the first century, because only a crazy man would claim to be able to forgive other people’s sins against other people.
But more importantly, the reason Jesus had to die, the reason Jesus had to come in a baby body, the reason God sent His son into the world to grow up among us, as one of us, and to die such a violent death, and demonstrate it?
Because God is the author of life.
None of us chose the day of our birth and you probably will not choose the day you leave this planet, but somehow, within those miraculous book ends, where we’ve been given life, we shake our fist at God. We say we’re going to do what we want to do, the way that we want to do it. And we deserve to lose the greatest gift God ever gave us: The gift of life. We owe a debt to the giver of life that we cannot pay. We owe Him our lives.
But God demonstrates His own love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. We deserve to give up the thing most valuable to us because we have been so disrespectful of the giver of life.
Jesus’ death demonstrated the magnitude of our ingratitude, the severity of our offense. We disregarded the author of life. We abused the supplier. We deserve to lose the supply. Jesus’ death demonstrated the magnitude of our ingratitude and His death demonstrated the magnitude of His love for us.
You cannot demonstrate love without sacrifice. Love must be shown to be known. You’ll never know how much someone really cares for you until you see what they’re willing to sacrifice for you. God demonstrated His great love for you through a great and necessary sacrifice.
We needed to know the story, to know the story was about us. And it wasn’t enough to say it, He had to send His son to pay the price that we owed in such a way that once we embraced the truth of the story and once we embraced who Jesus was, we would never doubt God’s love for us. He had to be with us so that we could know He was for us. We needed a demonstration, and so God, God needed Christmas.
How to Use This Study
Whether you think Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year or a month of busyness you hope to put behind you with as little fuss as possible, the Who Needs Christmas video curriculum from Andy Stanley can help you press pause, take a deep breath, and connect with your heavenly Father—really connect with him. It’s an ideal resource for a church to consider that God did something improbable on purpose because he wanted us to know that he was moving in the world in order to change the world—forever. This is what the video sessions and study guide explore and maybe this exploration will change your perspective on the Christmas season.