“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Jesus was orphaned. Though still in contact with His Father, He was placed in care of an earthly father, Joseph, who adopted Him as his own (with the urging of a very persuasive angel!). We don’t know what the family life was like in Joseph’s household – but we do know that Jesus always had an internal understanding that His true Father was someone else; a heavenly Father, in Whose house He would always be drawn, and always belong (Luke 2:49).
On Christmas day, Jesus was born into this adoption. To think of what He gave up … “home” for Jesus included His perfect Father, the glories of untainted creation, a context of perfect sinlessness, and eternal, abundant provision for every desire. Instead, He was placed in a fallen world, riddled with sin, cursed in its yield, and destined to carry out His murder. Truly, on Christmas Day, Jesus presented His body as a living sacrifice. We celebrate the day because this sacrifice was truly holy, and pleasing to God. It was the great self-emptying of God, that would lead to the cross, and the ultimate victory over death and evil.
On the day we indulge the most, and sacrifice the least (ironically. we celebrate the deprivation of Jesus by gorging ourselves on food and presents!), let’s remember the orphanage of Jesus. Let’s remember that, when we are born again, we are orphaned in a similar way. We are enlivened to embrace the cross-drenched reality that in sacrificing ourselves true worship is offered, and abundant life is experienced.