Advent Devotional Dec. 6: Born to Die

Born to Die, by Bebo Norman

 They never knew a dark night

always had the Son’s light

on their face

Perfect in glory

Broken by the story

of untold grace…

come that day


Majesty had come down

Glory had succumed now

to flesh and bone

In the arms of a manger

In the hands of strangers

that could not know

Just who they hold



And the angels filled the sky

All of heaven wondered why

Why their King would choose to be

Be a baby born to die


And all fell silent

For the cry of an infant,

the voice of God

Was dividing history

For those with eyes to see,

the Son would shine

From earth that night





To break the chains

Of guilt and sin

To find us here

To pull us in

So we can join in Heaven’s song

And with one voice around the throne



All the Angels filled the sky

And I can’t help but wonder why

Why this King would choose to be

Be a baby born for me

Be a baby born

Be a baby born to die

So there is an old saying, one that I always recall because Loius L’amour (a Western fiction author I read A LOT of as a youth) was fond of using it.  “One thing we know about life, you can’t get out of it alive.” 

We are all born.  We will all die.  We aren’t all born to die.  I’m not happy having that be all I say about Jesus.  I think Jesus was born for a lot more than simply to die (Which, of course, is the great critique of the Apostles’ Creed.  That it only highlights Jesus’ birth and death and misses the importance of his life and ministry).  But there is an aspect of Jesus life in which he is born to die.  In fact what the song names well is the fact that his very birth was a death… a death of the conception of God… which is very close to what Paul says when to the Philippians when he reminds us that Jesus emptied himself of what it means to be God and was born a slave. 

The song captures that in a way that really impacts me: “Perfect in glory, broken by the story of untold grace… come that day.” We so often talk about Jesus in terms like perfect we don’t think of Jesus as broken.  But Jesus weeps for Jerusalem, doubts his planned demise in the garden and upon the cross is betrayed, denied, and forsaken by friends and by God. 

 A baby born to die… but why?

 “And the angels filled the sky, All of heaven wondered why, Why their King would choose to be, Be a baby born to die.”

 Sometimes I wonder: what is more amazing Jesus birth or Jesus resurrection?  Now that is a faulty question.  They are both amazing and they are both miraculous mysteries. Jesus birth, death, and re-birth are all one story and we can’t really isolate the miracle of one from the other.  But everyone dies.  Lots of religions claim stories of resurrection.  But how often do we think of God being born as a helpless child, how often does the world imagine a being of unbridled power and might giving it all up for the sake of becoming… ordinary. 

 Its reverse sacrament isn’t it?  Just as we talked yesterday about God making the ordinary into something extra-ordinary, in the birth of a child we name God we find the supernatural that has shed that label and all that came with it and become completely… utterly… ordinary.

 And it was good.

 Why born to die?  Because so are we.  And in incarnation we find the ultimate affirmation that what we are is good.  So good that it is even good enough for God, good enough for God to be willing to die to save it all, to be born to die… that we might live.

About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on December 6, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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