“[He] emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. . . . He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” (Philippians 2:7–9, NASB)

You probably shouldn’t hang it on your front door. If you do, make sure you have armed guards around 24/7. The Christmas wreath created by Pasi Jokinen-Carter, of Flor Unikon Flowers in the U.K., costs over $4.5 million. The world’s most expensive wreath!

The two-foot diameter thing has sixteen rubies and thirty-two diamonds, including a vivid red 17.49 carat ruby, a 3.03 carat yellow diamond, and a flower head that has twenty-two loose diamonds totaling 2.64 carats. The jewels are removable and you can recycle them for other displays after Christmas. The greenery, from Finland, is, of course, perishable.

But there was no wreath at Bethlehem two millennia ago. In fact, the closest thing to a wreath that Jesus ever possessed or wore, as far as we know, was a crown of thorns as He was mocked and scourged before His crucifixion. Perhaps, then, there is a place for a wreath at Christmas—not a bejeweled production, but a thorny one. After all, Jesus came to die.

What begins with the incarnation of Jesus in Philippians 2:5–7—“made in the likeness of men”—immediately shifts gears to the passion of Jesus in 2:8: “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

That’s why He came. That’s Christmas. And that’s why His is the name above every name in every place (2:9–11). And so, as we celebrate His birth, we do well to remember His death for us. Him we praise. Him we trust. Him we love. The One who died.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

(William R. Featherston, 1864)