Every true reading of the Christmas story includes the hardships endured. Jesus was not born with a heavenly force field protecting Him from pain and trouble. As the hymn Once in Royal David’s City puts it, “Tears and smiles like us He knew”.
What would you think of a pregnant couple who had no reservation at the hospital nor midwife available, so they had their baby in the equivalent of an abandoned trailer, and grabbed part of a chicken coop for the basinet? Behold, the holy family. That’s where the Son of God of was laid when there was no room at the inn.
Poor and unimportant at home, Joseph and Mary would soon flee for their lives to Egypt because their Son, though underprivileged, was hunted. Only their dreams would tell them when to come back to Israel, when Herod was done slaughtering the baby boys two years old and younger and the coast was clear.
From the beginning Jesus was born to die. It was through the faith and courage of His parents, God’s kindness to them, that He even made to adulthood. But truly nothing would prepare Him for the cross because even though He suffered like we do, the cross was suffering like none we will ever know. Our God counted the cost of the cross from eternity past to save us from sin. Isaiah 53:10 says, “It pleased the Lord to bruise Him.” And Daniel, “the Messiah was cut off, but for Himself.” No one took Jesus’ life from Him; He laid it down Himself for the joy that was set before Him, even being forsaken by His heavenly Father under the weight of our sin.
We see the cost of Christmas even at the birth of Jesus, a baby born to grow up to be a man who would teach the good news, follow His Father faithfully, and die at the hands of our fallen humanity. Jesus’ body was broken and His blood shed on the cross for our sin, for our salvation. He did it all willingly to restore us to Himself.
Celebrating Christmas is about seeing the love of God taking on flesh in order to overcome our sin.