If He Had Not Been Born

Neal Pollard

This is not a Christmas article, serving neither as a primer on the origins of the holiday nor as a pandering gesture to the weak or uninformed that inordinately places a special emphasis on this day. The other night during devotion my boys asked me if I celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th. How would you have answered? I said, “Absolutely!” They were shocked and surprised. I said that I also celebrate it on December 26th, 27th, etc. One of them finally thought he caught my drift and said, “You’re talking about Sundays, right?” I said that, no, I celebrated Jesus’ birth on Monday through Saturday, too. Jesus’ birth is so important, it deserves equal attention and appreciation 365 days a year. Never does one day arrive or pass that is more worthy of such gratitude for the greatest gift ever given. A favorite Christmas movie of mine is It’s A Wonderful Life, the plot of which revolves around the implications for a town and its people if George Bailey had not been born. Profoundly and infinitely more important, consider what would be if He (Jesus) had not been born. When you do, you will daily live in gratitude for the birth of Christ and its implications.

If He had not been born, there would not have been one to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:16,21). Without His birth, no man would have come into life to be made an offering for sin in our place (2 Corinthians 5:21). None other could have done it (Romans 3:10,23).

If He had not been born, there would have been neither redemption or adoption. Galatians 4:4-5 says, “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.” As seen above, everyone had been separated from God because of sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). We needed to be bought back, and because Jesus was born redemption was hopefully introduced. We were alienated from God by sin (Colossians 1:21), but through Jesus’ birth into the human family we were afforded the prospect of being added to the family of God (1 Timothy 3:15).

If He had not been born, the plan of the cross could not have been set in motion. Philippians 2:7-8 says, “but [He] made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He was born in human form, then ultimately humbled Himself to the uttermost by dying a humiliating, painful, but substitute death at Calvary. In between, He taught the most powerful lessons the earth has known about humanity, humility, and duty.

All three of these “birth passages” foreshadow and anticipate His vicarious (i.e., explicit) and substitute sacrifice on the cross and as such His burial and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Because of this, we can never minimize the absolute necessity of the birth of Jesus. Without it, we are still in our sins, estranged and enslaved, and no cross in sight. How devastating that thought is! Thank God for Jesus’ birth, today and every day.