Beyond Me

Thoughts on Life and Faith

The Manger and The Cross

Christmas time is most people’s favorite time of year. I feel like we all miss the point and too much emphasis is given. And not just because of the material nature of Christmas. While it’s true we have an unhealthy focus in this country on the gift giving side of Christmas, I think the major emphasis on the holiday itself is as big a deal. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe it is important and great. The hope Christ, as represents, the new beginning, God entering this world to begin his final act of salvation…these are great. But it needs to be understood in its proper place.  The truth is, without the cross, the manger would mean nothing.

The cross is the work of Jesus that gives Christmas significance. Otherwise it was just another miraculous birth. Unique in that a baby was born to a virgin, but there are plenty of miracle births in Scripture. Yes it is the cross that brings us Christmas and not the other way around. We must realize this. And it would do us we’ll to correct our understanding. We spend basically two months now (and move the date up every year) celebrating this event, yet barely spend a weekend remembering the single most important event history has ever known.

I just finished reading John’s account of Jesus’ crucifixion and it’s powerful. Jesus followed through with God’s will to the letter and redeemed this world. I’ve never read the crucifixion story at Christmas, but it’s powerful and brings new perspective to the season. This Christmas I want to celebrate Jesus’ coming in light of his death. I want to be focused on the reason that coming was important. I want to realize the reason God had to intervene in this world was because I was too sinful and He couldn’t just stand for that. I don’t want to celebrate Christmas (which was a pagan holiday to begin with anyway) but celebrate a Savior who died for me. I want to remember that Jesus was laid in a manger, but by the end of his life that manger was broken down and turned into cross. For that I am humbled, broken, and eternally grateful.

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