Simple yet complex

On the Sunday before Christmas 2020, our church had a small Christmas celebration. We explored the theme "He is worthy" incorporating scripture reflecting on the worthiness of Christ, singing carols and worship songs pointing to Jesus' glory, and learning from Luke 2 about the peace the only God offers through His Son. No Christmas celebration service would be complete without children singing, in fact, our daughter had her first solo at the beginning of the song, Happy Birthday, Jesus. It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that I cried. I held my tears in for most of the song, but lost it a little at her sweet voice declaring, "I love you, Jesus" at the end. 

Before you think that this is just an opportunity to brag on the talents of my children, let me explain a little further. This song, Happy Birthday, Jesus, always makes me cry. I lose it almost any time I hear a recording or video of it. It was just even harder to keep it together this time because of who was a singing it. 

Why does a children's Christmas song affect me so much? Is it the melody? Is it the little girl singing the solo at the start? Is it the choir joining powerfully half way through? Although the writers did a beautiful job creating a song to affect the emotions, I think it may be something different. 

It's the song's simplicity that makes it so powerful.
In case you don't know it, here are the words: 

Happy Birthday, Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas! 
All the tinsel and lights and the presents are nice, 
But the real gift is You. 

Happy Birthday, Jesus 
I'm so glad it's Christmas! 
All the carols and bells make the holiday swell, 
And it's all about You! 

Happy Birthday, Jesus! 
Jesus, I love you! 

That's it! Nothing too theologically complex. Nothing confusing. Just a reminder that our Christmas celebrations center on the gift of Jesus himself.


There have been millions of words written about deep doctrinal concepts. Believers have studied, researched, and debated the intricate workings of the gospel for centuries. We as followers of Christ should be reading to more deeply know the God of the Bible and will never come to the end of our quest until He returns. 

But sometimes it's important to zoom the lens back out a bit and remember the beauty of what our God accomplished for us.  It is simultaneously simple and unbelievably complex. 

A holy triune God created the first man and woman. This was done in spite of the perfect fellowship that already eternally existed between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It was simply done to reflect His glory. 

After walking in perfect fellowship with God himself, man chose to rebel against his holy Creator being deceived by Satan disguised as a serpent. This shattered relationship would now be carried to every descendant of Adam (including you and me). 

Thousands of years passed. God continually reached down to his people in holy love and mercy. His creations continually rebelled against that relationship choosing instead to pursue their own wickedness. After all, their hearts were the same of their father Adam, made of stone. 

In an act of supreme sacrifice, God the Father sent His Son, Jesus, to put on our broken flesh as a newborn baby. He would live among these rebellious humans, descendants of the same people He had created.  He would eventually die at their hands, not because of his sin but because of theirs. He would rise in victory over death, but also over the long standing curse of sin. Our sin-scarred hearts of stone could now be replaced by tender hearts of flesh. (Jeremiah 31:33, Ezekiel 36:26)

But the story isn't over. He will come once again! All wrongs will be made right. Broken will be made whole. The curse of sin will be overturned completely and we will once again be like our great, great grandparents, Adam and Eve before they fell. We will walk and work in perfect fellowship with our eternal Creator. 

This is all possible because of a holy triune God -- The Father who orchestrated this beautiful story, The Son who accomplished the story, and The Spirit who applies it. 

That's the story of the Bible in a very small nutshell. Simultaneously simple and unbelievably complex. 
It's all about Jesus. 

As we step into a new year, I am experiencing the excitement of a fresh start and the opportunity to leave 2020 behind, but I'm also a bit apprehensive. Will 2021 be better or worse than last year? Maybe you're having some of those same doubts! 
Instead of dwelling on the "what if's" of the coming months, I hope we can cling to the "it is finished" of the story of Jesus. I pray we can remind ourselves that it's not just our Christmas celebrations, but our daily lives that will only be complete when centered on the best gift of all, the gift of Jesus himself.