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Making the Christmas Connection

10 Dec Spiritual Formation | Comments Off on Making the Christmas Connection
Making the Christmas Connection
 

Talking Sacrifice with my Seven Year Old

“Dad, can we sacrifice an animal?”  My seven year old daughter, Natalie asked me that question with a bit of trepidation, wandering if the answer “Yes” was even a remote possibility.  We had just finished reading the account of Abraham taking Isaac up on the mountain to sacrifice him as God had commanded.

It is one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament and I especially love reading it with Natalie from the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Her question was not completely unwarranted.  It is in the Bible, and Abraham does end up sacrificing a ram instead of his son, which is a good thing.  Nonetheless, we don’t often think about it anymore. Her question gave us the opportunity to talk about the history of biblical sacrifice and I was excited to share with her the ultimate and final sacrifice that Jesus made.

Of course, my answer was, “No, because we do not need to sacrifice animals anymore.”  From there we talked about the sacrifices made by the priest to pay the punishment for sin and the scapegoat that was chased far away.  Natalie was thrilled to make the connection that Jesus took the punishment for our sin like an animal in the Old Testament.  His blood was shed and He took our sin farther away then we could imagine.  Because of Jesus, all our sins are forgiven forever and for always.

Remembering Sacrifice during the Holidays

In the busy and often overindulgent season of Christmas, the word sacrifice can be easily lost.  We get caught up in the busyness of shopping for presents, hanging decorations, Christmas movie marathons, and countless parties. It can all start to feel rather routine, and at the same time, can subtly cause the Christmas Story to feel routine as well.

But of course, the birth of our Savior is anything but routine.  Christmas and Easter represent the most significant pillars of our faith, and their regular observance creates a spiritual rhythm that encompasses every day of the year.  Our Christian calendar is entrenched by the time leading up to and following the celebrations of Jesus’ birth and resurrection; the rhythm of our year organized to point us to Jesus.  In the same way, the Old Testament points us to Jesus; to the anticipation of His descent from heaven to be Immanuel and His journey to the cross defeating Satan, sin and death as our Redeemer.

As you spend this Christmas with your family and your students, I encourage you to proclaim the good news of the Old Testament… that a sacrifice was made once and for all, and now, we do not need to sacrifice animals. Our salvation is secure in God’s ultimate and perfect sacrifice, His Son Jesus Christ.

Excerpt from the Jesus Storybook Bible

“God was getting ready to give the whole world a wonderful present.  It would be God’s way to tell His people, ‘I love you.’

Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carry wood on His back.  Like Isaac, He would trust His Father and do what His Father asked.  He wouldn’t struggle or run away.

Who was He?  God’s Son, His only Son – the Son He loved.

The Lamb of God.”

Ben Myers
Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp
Ben Myers has served as the Camp Director at Arrowhead Bible Camp in Brackney, PA for the past 13 years. Arrowhead is a ministry committed to discipleship through its programs for adults with developmental disabilities, missions opportunities for youth groups, and mentoring of High School and College students. Ben also teaches as an adjunct professor at Lancaster Bible College and holds degrees from Cairn University and Baptist Bible Seminary.