Born to Die
When I was living in Tioga, I put up a Christmas light display that was a bit controversial. I really went all out that year hanging Christmas lights everywhere — thousands of them – on the roof, around the windows, on the shrubs. A actually built a 30 foot canopy of lights across and the length of my driveway. Each evening as I come home from work, I would drive under this canopy of lights as I drove into the garage. It was pretty cool. Even though I got some criticism when my light display spilled across the public sidewalk – the biggest bark was the sign I put up.
I made a personalized sign bending steel rod into letters and attaching red rope lighting to spell out – “Born to Die”. I put the sign in the front yard and to catch everyone’s attention bordered the sign with chasing lights. On either side of the sign was a manger adorned with lights and a 30 foot cross lit up in red.
Like I said, there were people who didn’t really appreciating my sign / manger / cross display. I was told the birth of Jesus should be the focus instead of bringing such a focused attention to His death. I called Mom up about it and argued with her how Jesus was born to “give his life” (Matthew 20:28). Of course Mom agreed that my sign was indeed a true biblical statement but then wisely suggested the message of Christmas might be better served with a more joyful focus. The next year, I took the ‘born’ in my sign and changed the message to: “For unto us is born … a Savior” (which is the sign I currently display on the front lawn). Most importantly, Mom approved.
Thinking it through, I wonder if the struggle some people had with my Christmas message had to do in living right across the street from the Elementary School. Children would leave school at the end of the day and seeing the sign would sound out the simple words, ‘born – to – die’ and come home asking Mom or Dad what it meant. Maybe explaining to their young child the depth of the Christian message was something they didn’t want to tackle.
Yet, the message of Christmas is God saying – ‘The world is dark and lives are lost and broken. I have sent My Son Jesus to this earth as the light and the truth to the world. I have sent Him to earth Christmas Day for the purpose of dying for the sin of the world so that people might be saved.’ (John 3:16 / 1 Peter 2:24). Personally, I like to keep the cross in my Christmas celebrations as a way to remember the purpose of Jesus’ coming. His birth was such a beautiful and joyful moment in history. Yet, why? Why was Jesus born as a baby in a manger?
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
Jesus was born to die.