“Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28
…Choose any ten persons at random; ask each of them to write the meaning of the Christmas season in fifty words and you will be surprised at the variety of their replies…
Yet the truth enshrined in the annual Christmas commemoration is the most basic and vital in our Christian religion. It is the original protoplasm from which every other distinguishingly Christian truth evolves. Nothing is more important than to grasp the real meaning of Christmas. So then look at the text and see in it, first, the one explanation of Christmas which really matters as this is the explanation of Christ Himself. “Even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” If anyone knows “the reason why,” He does. His is the one explanation of Christmas which really matters.
This immediately leads to the further thought that here we have the one explanation of Christmas which is really adequate. In view of our Lord’s words, it is intolerably inadequate to offer some beautifully-worded yet merely aesthetic explanation of Christmas. Our Lord’s incarnation was not merely idealistic; it was REDEMPTIVE, as the text says. That first baby breath in the stable in Bethlehem was the first step of the incarnated Deity toward the awful yet glorious Cross on Calvary. Mark it well: He came to “give His life” as a “ransom for many.”
Once again, in our text we see the one explanation of Christmas which really safeguards it. Separate Christmas Day from Good Friday, and Christmas is doomed – doomed to decay in to a merely sentimental or superstitious or sensuous “eat, drink and be merry” festivity of December. Bethlehem and Golgotha, the Manger and the Cross, the birth and the death, must always be seen together, if the real Christmas is to survive with all its profound inspirations; for “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; and to give His life a ransom for many.” Yes, we must always see that Manger in the light of that Cross.
-J. Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart