The sights and sounds that tell me Christmas is on the way… the rumble of the UPS van pulling into my driveway and the shipping packages stacked on the porch. How I love Black Friday! It has been my Christmas tradition for a few years now to do all my Christmas shopping online on Black Friday (for any of you men or oblivious readers, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving and is known as a day for notoriously good shopping bargains.) I love the deals, I love the free shipping and I certainly love the convenience. I was pulling in my driveway one night recently and wondering how I would fit in my Black Friday shopping (on this particularly busy year) when a thought hit me: Christmas is truly, on its deepest level -- all about a “black Friday.”
Hopefully we are all on the same page that Christmas is not just about the gifts and packages that come after Black Friday and that soon get wrapped in beautiful wrapping paper and shiny ribbon. Christmas is the gift of God’s perfect Son who came to earth to live and walk among us. This baby who was born in a manger to his young mother came with a big mission: He came as Savior of the world. Christmas is Immanuel! God with us!
One of the things I love about Jesus is that He came to us fully God, and yet fully man. He knows what it is to be dog tired, to work diligently, to experience disappointment, to endure pain and suffering, to feel betrayed. Jesus knows what we experience and yet He lived here without sin. He set for us a perfect example. Hebrews 4:15 says this about Jesus: “This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin.” (NLT)
So how did Jesus come to save the world? He did it through a black Friday. Ironically, this other “black Friday” is called Good Friday. When we are celebrating the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, let us not forget His mission. Jesus left the splendor of Heaven to come to the squalor of a stable for us. This baby was born to die. He came to rescue us from sin and darkness. It was always part of God’s plan -- not just from the beginning of Jesus’ earthly life but from the beginning of time. God knew that we would need a way out of the destructiveness of sin. He knew that we would need a Savior. Jesus knew what would happen to him and He endured it because He loves us.
This Christmas season, when you look at the little wooden manger, think of that wooden cross. When you put gifts under the tree, thank God for the gift of his Son. But not just the gift of the cute little baby Jesus, the gift of His life that He laid down for us on Good Friday.