The Cradle Without the Cross?

Christmas greetings to all,

What does Christmas mean to you? As we approach this holiday season once more, are we caught up in the hustle and bustle of buying gifts, stringing lights, decorating trees, and telling our children about Santa Claus?

Or are we occupying our hearts and minds in worship to our Lord? A Lord that was willing to leave the wonderful courts of heaven to come down to this dirty sinful world in the form of a humble baby! A baby born in the lowliest of circumstances, surrounded by livestock, and laid in a manger at His birth!

Philippians 2:6 thru 2:11 tells us “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

We see in this scripture that this Child did not stay a lowly child, but became King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. How did this happen? Why did God the Father so highly exalt His only begotten Son? These verses also answer this: He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

When a missionary went to China in the 1500’s, he took samples of religious art to illustrate the Christian story for people who had never heard it. They readily accepted portraits of Mary holding the baby Jesus, but when he produced paintings of the crucifixion and tried to explain that the God-child had come to be executed, his audience reacted with revulsion and horror. They couldn’t worship a crucified God.

As I think about Christmas today, I realize that we do much the same thing. In our celebrations and observances, we may not think about how the story that began at Bethlehem turned out at Calvary.

In St. Luke’s account of the Christmas story, only one person—the old man Simeon—seems to grasp the mysterious nature of what God has set in motion. “This Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against,” he told Mary, and then he made the prediction that a sword would pierce her own soul (2:34-35).

Simeon knew that though on the surface little had changed—Herod still ruled, Roman troops still occupied Israel—underneath, everything had changed. God’s promised redemption had arrived. If you and I will put our trust and faith in this redemption provided by our loving God, we have the promise of also being exalted from this lowly earth to walk the bright courts of heaven with Him!

Come and worship with us as we learn anew the real meaning of Christmas!

The cradle without the cross misses the true meaning of Christ’s birth.

Kevin Zimmerman,

A church brother