Who doesn’t love Christmas? It is nearly a worldwide holiday and even if people have no idea why they celebrate it they are glad to have fanfare, pageantry and a down time. For Christians and churches around the globe, whether evangelical or not, we recognize the historical fact of a Savior being born. Jesus, the Son of God, became man and lived among us. It is an amazing story and the one we place so much importance upon, as we should. It was and is a big deal!
What I have often not understood though is why we place such little importance on the Rest of the Story. The birth of Jesus is meaningless without the death of Jesus and the death of Jesus is meaningless without the resurrection from the tomb. In my opinion, neither the birth, death or resurrection is more important than the other because they each are intertwined with the other. Each is meaningless without the other.
I love this week of the year. It is so packed with meaning and is the culmination of the birth of Jesus to become our final sacrifice. Palm Sunday is huge and the church should begin to shout from the mountaintop the story of the gospel and how it was about to unfold as Christ entered Jerusalem as a hero and how the people were looking for Him to be the King they were looking for to take them out from under the oppression of Roman Rule. Then as they realized He had a different agenda that did not fit into theirs, they turned on Him and the whole place erupted and literally went insane against Jesus, who never did anything but good and healed the blind, made the lame to walk again and shared how God is more interested in a relationship with people than He is about if they obey all the man made rules. They were infuriated with this Jesus and they hung him on a cruel cross to die – which He did. It was horrendous and humiliating and lonely as His blood dripped on the ground for the final sacrifice for our sins before a holy God. Yes, He was taken down and place tenderly in a tomb where fear and sorrow were mixed emotions for those who loved Him most.
Then, after three days, the most amazing event in the course of history takes place. People come to the tomb to care for it and place flowers there, when they met an angel sitting upon the stone that had been placed to seal the tomb… he said, “He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay.”
Are you kidding me?! This is huge!! Christmas is great but Easter tells the rest of the story. Let’s put on the pageantry. Let’s talk about it. Let’s share it. Let’s sing about it and let’s shout it from the mountaintops. The anticipation is rising and remember, joy comes in the morning… Shhhh. It’s coming…