With Easter approaching, I was reminded yesterday of the connection between that holiday and the one that we celebrated several months ago, Christmas. Many Christians have a preference as to which one of these holidays they like better, but for me, they are intimately connected and interwoven throughout Scripture. Jesus, the Son of God, had to be born in the manner and circumstances by which he was born here on earth, this is the Incarnation. He had to live a sinless life in order to be the perfect, spotless, Lamb of God. He had to willingly go to the cross to take our place and pay the price due for our sin. He had to rise again three days later to conquer death and sin and win the victory. Now that is a very simplistic explanation of a deeper theological principle, but I want you to understand how these two holidays are interwoven into the very fabric of our belief in Jesus as the Savior.
So often, we put a whole lot of theological importance on Easter and leave Christmas more in the category of a holiday that gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling. This probably has something to do with the atmosphere around the Christmas holiday; family gatherings, decorations everywhere, the hustle and bustle of shopping for gifts for everyone under the sun. The connection between Christmas and Easter can sometimes get lost, but listen to what Paul says in Galatians 4:1-7.
“I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is not different than a bondservant, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a bondservant, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:1-7
What an awesome picture of the way these two holidays are connected. Christmas is so vital, because in the midst of 400 years of silent spiritual darkness, when the time came, God sent his Son, the light of the world, into this world of darkness to shine brightly for all to see! He came to redeem us so that we might be adopted as His sons and daughters, children of the Father. He accomplished this by going to the cross and rising from the dead! He did the work for us! All we need to do is accept this free gift of forgiveness from our sins! And the result for us who believe? We are forgiven, we have our sins removed from us as far as the east is from the west, we have our identity changed, we are adopted into the family of God, and we receive the Spirit into our hearts. What an awesome message!
So, as we approach the Easter holiday, this one will be quite different from any we have celebrated in the past. Cling to the truth of why we celebrate. We once were lost and now are found, we once were enemies, according to the book of Romans, and now are God’s children. All because of what Jesus did for us. Nothing can ever change that!