“This is my body broken for you.” - Luke 22:19
The scripture above is not one that is usually associated with Christmas. But without Christ’s death and resurrection, Christmas would just be another day.
Several years ago, our church purchased a fairly large ceramic Nativity set. During our Hanging of the Greens service, we had the children carry pieces of the set to the front of the church and place them under the Chrismon tree. When Christmas was over, we carefully wrapped each piece and placed them back in a box.
However, one Christmas when we unwrapped Baby Jesus, He was broken. That I was upset might be an understatement, and I let others know that we had a “broken baby“ - a childish response, I know, but I was hurt that someone had broken the baby and had not let anyone know so we could replace it. I was not very “joyful”!
Only later did I connect the broken Baby Jesus with the broken adult Jesus and the significance that we so often miss at Christmas - that He had to be broken in order for us to have the joy of salvation and eternal life and the privilege of experiencing joy at Christmas.
Here is the “rest of the story.” Before the next Advent season, one of our members, who is an artist, fashioned a “new” baby Jesus for our Nativity set from clay that was even more beautiful than the original one.
That is the joy He brings to us - salvation that changes our broken lives into something more beautiful than we could ever have imagined, by allowing His body to be broken for us.
By Jan Stumbo, Hindman UMC, South East District