Today is the eve of Christ’s mass, the celebration of God’s greatest gift to mankind. Today, many of us will go to churches and celebrate the spectacular mystery of God becoming a man among us. We will enjoy children’s choirs and marvel at the angelic child represented in nativities. Yet, how many of us want to think about why we do this?
Isaiah tells us why in chapter 53 of the prophecy God gave to him:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” — Isaiah 53:5, NIV
It was for his death that Jesus Christ was born into the world, because without his death, there is no forgiveness of sins. Christ was born to pay the price for sin that we could not pay ourselves, and through that payment the peace and healing of God came to us. Through Christ’s death, we are reconciled to God and through his resurrection we have the promise of our own eternal life.
This is the lesson that I think of every Christmas Eve as I stand not just before the manger but before the cross. Christ was born so that he could die on my behalf. Christ made himself like me so that he could set me free. Christ rose to prepare a place for me in heaven. Praise be to God that this is so!