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by Bubba Jennings
Christmas isn’t just about baby Jesus
Baby Jesus everywhere
I’m starting to see “baby Jesus” everywhere—on cards, in stores, on the television. It’s a bit much. It’s not that Christmas décor is inherently bad, but rather “baby Jesus” is not only what Christmas is about.
We have made the grave mistake in our country of making Christmas about only “baby Jesus.” This is one of the most reductionistic things that we as Christians can do.
Baby Jesus in the movies
This time of year, I’m reminded of one of people’s favorite scenes in the movie Talladega Nights. At the dinner table with his family, Ricky Bobby prays alternately to “Lord baby Jesus,” “your baby Jesus powers,” and “tiny, infant Jesus.” Of course, he can hardly finish this line before his wife chimes in— “Hey, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up.”
As hilarious as the scene is, there is a lot of truth pertaining to the way Christians act during this time of year. Yes, we should be celebrating Jesus’ coming year-round, but here’s the problem: Ricky Bobby’s wife is right! Jesus did grow up!
Baby Jesus once he grew up
Did Jesus enter into human history as a baby? Yes. Is Christmas meant to celebrate the coming of Jesus into human history? Yes. So what’s the problem?
The reason we celebrate the coming of Jesus is because of what he did on the cross about 30 years after his birth. In other words, if this man, Jesus, was born 2,000 years ago and lived for about 30 years and died, and that was it, end of story, then we would have nothing to celebrate.
If we are celebrating the birth of Jesus, we are only celebrating because of what he came to do and the fact that he accomplished what he came to do. To celebrate only baby Jesus is to forget why he came. To celebrate only baby Jesus is sentimentalism.
Baby Jesus in Isaiah
The book of Isaiah includes all aspects of Jesus’ life. In chapter 9 we read about a child being born to us. Isaiah 53:2 says, “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground.” This prophecy goes on to say in, “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities” (v. 5). The chapter ends with this: “Yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors” (v. 12).
The gap between Christmas and Easter?
Think this sounds like more of a passage about Easter? Maybe. But this Christmas, I’d ask you to consider this: maybe Christmas is not just about baby Jesus, but more about the man Jesus than we thought.