The part of the Christmas story nobody is talking about
Amid the hustle and bustle I’m living, I yearn to hear songs like Silent Night and Away in a Manger. These songs evoke feelings of peace on earth and mercy mild, quiet and stillness, a baby swaddled and mother holding him tight.
Quaint. Sweet. Loving. Safe. Familiar.
But this year is different. I’m ready to embrace the other part of the Christmas story.
I still love these songs and melodies, but I feel my soul ready for something different. I want to focus on the part of the story that says Jesus’ birth also brought the defeat of sin and death, the destruction of our enemy, and the deliverance of captive people from their taskmasters.
The story of Christmas is also the story of destroying our enemy’s work. (1 John 3:8)
Our enemy wants us trapped, tangled up, and turned upside down. He makes us feel like we have nothing to offer, we’re too much of a mess, or that we’ll never be free from the sin that entangles us. Our enemy works to get us to do too much, take responsibility for things that aren’t ours to own, and believe that our worth is found in our work.
We all need to be delivered from something this Christmas season.
Every person on the planet has a soul that cries out for deliverance from the bondage of sin. Jesus did that work when He died on the cross, and most of you reading this blog know Him as your Savior and choose to follow Him daily, but perhaps you don’t feel free.
Followers of Christ are prone to becoming enslaved by behaviors and beliefs that aren’t serving us well. I’ve known Jesus for decades, yet still fall prey to internal taskmasters. And what exactly is a taskmaster?
- Any unreasonable expectation we hold.
- Any misplaced sense of responsibility.
- Or anything we feel we “should” do that puts unnecessary pressure on our heart.
I want to encourage you to ask yourself: What taskmasters do I have in my life?
Today I want to share two of mine with you.
The taskmaster that tells me I’m Never Enough.
For those of us who struggle with Never Enough-ness, we truly believe that we aren’t pretty enough, mom enough, wife enough, friend enough, skinny enough, or leader enough. We believe that there’s always room for improvement because everything isn’t perfect…yet.
Because we suffer from “Never Enough” we see life as an endless series of tasks to be executed as flawlessly as possible.
The taskmaster that says “do more” and “try harder.”
The belief that we’re Never Enough is fed to us by the enemy that says if we do more, then we’ll be more. This belief demands that we meet unreasonable expectations that typically leave us feeling hurried and hassled like sheep without a shepherd.
But we have a Good Shepherd whose pace isn’t about speed or busyness. His pace is gentle and kind, unforced and gracious. He is all-sufficient, so we can lean into that sufficiency. He is trustworthy, so we can ask for His wisdom.
We all have taskmasters, but we cannot deliver ourselves.
Just as the Israelites didn’t—and couldn’t—deliver themselves out of slavery, we cannot deliver ourselves from the taskmasters that enslave us. A deliverer must be outside of us, more powerful than us, and gentle enough to protect us when we’re rescued.
Enter Jesus, our baby King and deliverer.
Jesus came to rob Satan of his power, to deliver us from our taskmasters. We know that evil still exists and that we still sin, and yet, our enemy’s sentence has been pronounced: Defeated.
Our deliverer is Christ and Christ alone.
The good news this Christmas season is that, because Christ was born, we are delivered and free to worship Him.
Christ didn’t set us free for the sake of freedom so we could thank Him and skip along on our merry way. God rescues us for the purpose of worshiping Him. But what does worship looks like in our right-now life?
Worship looks like fulfilling our purpose. It looks like our gifts matching up with the world’s gaps. It looks like doing what brings us gladness in a way that brings Christ glory. Even if you’re scared or feel unqualified, embrace your deliverance and go and shine.
This year has been different. I’m ready to embrace the other part of the Christmas story.
When you find yourself yearning to hear Silent Night and Away in a Manger, remember that these sweet songs are only part of the story. Christmas is also about Jesus entering the world and destroying our enemy’s work, defeating death, and bringing us deliverance.
Now, let’s embrace the good news this season: that Jesus was born and He came to defeat what enslaves us so we can live delivered and free.