That by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Our Freedom From Death
The further we move away from December 25th, the smaller our Christmas celebration gets in life’s rear-view mirror. For many folks, that is extremely depressing. We prepare so intently (perhaps even frantically!) to make our celebration as close to perfect as we can. And then, in a flash, it’s over. And it’s tempting to think, “Is that it? Is that all there is?”
But Christians know that what happened at Christmas is not all there is. Our reason for celebrating Jesus’ birth is not just that he arrived in a manger. It’s that he eventually left the manger! The story of Jesus doesn’t fade to the closing credits with angels singing, shepherds worshiping, and Mary pondering all these things in her heart. Jesus eventually left the manger and passionately carried on until he’d carried out every part of the work required to save us. Living in perfection. Reaching out with affection. Resisting the devil to the point of exhaustion. Suffering in the deepest humiliation. Triumphing through his resurrection. Ascending with the greatest celebration. Making us a new creation. It was all a labor of love done for you by your brother to “destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”
One day we will die, but don’t let that thought bind you in chains of dread and fear because Jesus lived a perfect life as your substitute and paid for all your sins as your sacrifice. He then came to life, conquering death for you. He has done everything necessary for you to live eternally in heaven. And if it all depends on what Jesus has done, none of it depends on what you have done. Don’t let the thought of death hold you captive. Hear those shackles fall. What child is this? It’s Jesus, the substitute and sacrifice who has set you free.
Lord Jesus, cast out my fear of death and every fear the plagues me. Help me face them knowing you are victorious, and you are near to me. Amen.