Christmas is an odd time to think about death. It's supposed to be a happy, joyous, vibrant, red, gold, green, full of wrapping paper, mulled wine, turkey, laughter, presents, friends, with a topping of brandy butter, icing sugar and hopefully snow.
But what if it's not supposed to be like that? What if the whole point of Christmas is that it points to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Sad Saturday, and then eventually Easter Sunday. Mary is reminded of this when she meet Simeon, who says that a sword of pain will pierce you.
The whole reason Jesus came to earth was to die. To die for us. To die to forgive us of sin. To die to redeem our lives. To die to adopt us into the family. And to die to defeat death.
The passage from today talks about the death of death. And that is the mystery at the heart of Christmas, this eternal and yet new-baby Jesus came to earth for death. He came to die, but he also came to die so that we might not die.
He swallowed up death. And now we can shout 'Death, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? WHERE IS YOUR STING?'
Because this little baby was born, we may be re-born. Because this little baby was born, we may not die.