If you only go to Bethlehem, you haven’t gone far enough.

Have you ever wondered why so many artists (who aren’t Evangelical Christians) have recorded classic Christmas hymns praising Jesus? Neil Diamond belting out “Silent Night.”  Mariah Carey performing “O Holy Night.”  Natalie Cole giving a stirring rendition of “The First Noel.”  The list goes on and on.

Well, here’s a possible answer to my question:

A baby Jesus isn’t very intimidating, but a Jesus who dies on the cross for your sins and miraculously rises from the dead and demands honor, love, and repentance is.

Don’t get me wrong.  Jesus was just as much God at birth as he was on the cross.  But if we have learned anything from Ricky Bobby, we’ve learned that praying (or in this case, singing) to an “8 lb. 6 oz. newborn infant Jesus…just a little infant, so cuddly” is not awe-inspiring.  Praying to the God of the universe who went to the cross for all the times you trampled upon his glory, however, is.

First John 3:8 says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”  That means that little baby Jesus was born to kill sin.  The only way Jesus could make this happen would be to move on from his manger in Bethlehem toward Golgotha in Jerusalem, where he died on the cross and then triumphantly rose from the dead to conquer sin, Satan, death, and hell.

If you love the classic hymns of the season, sing them with honor and reverence and praise for the Baby who grew up into a Man and died and rose again.  Jesus didn’t stay in Bethlehem.  Neither should we.