12- (December 2017) Manger and Cross

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John 1:15

We’re in that time of year when we will be inundated with things pertaining to Christmas. Perhaps you’ve noticed already the stores playing familiar tunes of the season. Christmas decorations, wrapping paper, artificial trees, and other supplies have been available in some places since mid-October. And you’ll hear people speak in disapproving tones about how it seems to come earlier and earlier with each passing year.

There is already a full-court press in progress among believers to remind Christians, and anyone else who’ll listen, that the season is really all about the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ. It’s probably not a bad idea to have a special time of the year set aside to remember that event- although we’re certainly not commanded to recognize it any more than any other event in Jesus’ life and ministry. In fact, the memorial Jesus Himself instituted and we celebrate weekly, the Lord’s Supper, is a remembrance of His death and a time of self-examination. It’s amazing how fervent we can be about Christmas and how relatively unconcerned about the Lord’s table on the Lord’s day. Something to think about!

But Jesus birth is certainly proof of God’s love for us and the length to which He would go to reach those who had thoroughly rejected Him. We must never forget that the sinless Lamb of God did not come from heaven to save clean, whole, acceptable people. He came to save sinners who were condemned by their rejection of God (Romans 5:6-11). Only a compassionate Heavenly Father with a great heart of love would reach out through the medium of His own Son’s blood; the sacrifice of the pure and holy to save the desperately lost. Looking back from the cross one can get the real meaning of the manger. Looking back from the cross one marvels at God’s consistent, determined love through thousands of years from the first mention of a Savior (Genesis 3:15) to the moment the first drop of Jesus’ blood was spilled.

And looking forward from the cross empowers us to give as Jesus gave- a personal crucifixion of ourselves (Galatians 2:20), a commitment to love as He did (1 John 4:19-21), and a call to obey the one who gave all for us

(2 Corinthians 5:14, 15).

Blessed to be serving with you,

Jay