by Elizabeth de Barros
This is a revision of a piece originally posted on December 22, 2008. From time to time I like to go back and review what I’ve written to see if my views have changed, or if I’m horrified over what I’ve said. In this case, it’s neither.
I’m reading my Gregorian calendar right. It’s just that Christmas brings out in me the truth police and I catch myself breaking the rules again — forcing me to look past the golden glow of the manger and its million and one replicas, fix my gaze upon the Promise for mankind wrapped up in the destiny of a helpless, crying baby.
The movie reel inside my mind fast forwards past Bethlehem, the Magi, and the star in the eastern sky — zooms in on a grittier place on the timeline. I see something else.
A man in his prime, bent over, pouring sweat, stricken. Beaten. I see blood trickling from his thorn-pricked head, bearing the sins of the world on His back, looking up toward a barren hill where He’d soon be lifted up on a criminal’s tree to breathe His last. And I hear something, too. I hear the blind pride of angry soldiers feasting on the fat of their will as they beat with rods the lacerated back of Hope and Love Himself. I hear the crush of sin and the groanings of a great multitude of rebellious souls being dragged through the dust that testify to this one thing: He did not just carry mens’ burdens, but carried their exact load.
Golgotha. The place where the Determination of God triumphed and announced to those things in heaven, upon the earth, and to the grave below, “It is finished!”
Golgotha. The place where only a few mourned for Deity become flesh. Where He bore the mockers’venom for His silent willingness to become sin for sin. God of Heaven now heralded as Victim of the most scandalous sort.
The reality of Golgotha is the greatest gift ever given and must be received for there to truly be a Merry Christmas at all. I pray when you look out through your car window onto your neighbor’s lawn, in front of your church building, or on the cover of a Christmas card, you see beyond the manger to the hill of Golgotha. And may you see Him, no longer a helpless baby, but exalted on high, seated at the right hand of the Father, making intercession in all His majestic glory, as He truly is.