I had a family member die this week. It wasn’t someone that I was super close to, but it was someone I cared about and enjoyed.
It seems very reasonable a death during the holidays would hit extra hard. I mean, with all that time set aside specifically for love ones, it seems the sudden absence of a person could cast a large shallow over the entire event.
But this really isn’t the case for me. In fact, outside of the impact this death has had on my other family members, I’m really not that sad about it.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not going to miss the guy and it’s not that I don’t see the sensitive nature of this time of year.
Quite the contrary. I think it’s because I do see exactly what we’re celebrating this season and it’s impact on our lives.
I see the game-changer.
When you’re writing about a sporting event you’re supposed to try your best to identify the game-changer. It’s that pivotal point at which one team takes control over the game’s outcome and never looks back. A blocked punt, a clutch three-pointer, or a pitcher fighting his way out of a jam. The type of critical moment a fan looks back on and says, “That was exactly when we started to win.”
For Christians, we’re currently in the midst of celebrating the beginning of our game-changer — the birth of Jesus.
Nothing after Jesus life, death, and resurrection would ever be the same. It was not only the pivotal point in God’s overall relationship with humankind, but it’s also the pivotal point in each of our individual lives.
Post Jesus, nothing is the same. Life is no longer just some brief inwardly focused experience and death is no longer the end of it.
The game has changed, the season extended, and though at times we might feel the pain of being down a few points, the truth of the matter is the win is already in hand.
It’s easy to get swept up in the celebration of a baby this time of year. It’s easy to focus on all 8 pounds and 6 ounces of baby Jesus laying in a manager, surrounded by some farm animals, some shepherds, three wise men, one mini camel, and an angel on the roof.
And there’s nothing wrong with that, but I think we’d be wise to not forget we’re also celebrating something bigger than that scene.
We’re celebrating the game-changer.