How was your Christmas, dear friend? Did you attend a meaningful Christmas Eve service? Maybe you listened (and sang along!) to favorite carols or visited a living nativity in your town. Perhaps you enjoyed some time with family and read Luke’s account of the Christmas story or viewed the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Among other activities, I enjoyed making my traditional shortbread cut into the shapes of stars, angels, and a baby (gingerbread) boy to commemorate Christmas. There are so many wonderful ways to focus on Christ, and I sincerely hope your Christmas was blessed and full of rejoicing.
Christ is Christmas, the gift of our heavenly Father to an undeserving world, but that gift isn’t simply a little baby sleeping in a manger. Oh no! That’s just the beginning. Dear friends of ours set up an unusual Christmas display in their yard each year. It totally encapsulates my message. Try to imagine this:
First, there’s a rough hewn wooden manger holding some light blue fabric.
Now keep your eye on that fabric.
The fabric sweeps up from the manger to a large, equally rough hewn, cross and drapes over the heavy beams.
That’s a bittersweet image, isn’t it? But it’s also a visual reminder of God’s plan for Christ. He wasn’t just a baby to be coddled and cooed over and sung about on Christmas Eve. He started out as a little baby so he could identify with every ache and each joy in our lives, and it all led up to His ultimate purpose–to die for our sins and make reconciliation with God a possibility for each of us.
Let’s add one more image to our mental manger and cross display, and that’s an empty tomb. Isn’t that the most wonderful part of the story?! There was a resurrection! In these cold, gray days of winter, let’s ponder little hands and tiny brow, beaten body and head wreathed with thorns, and empty rock tomb. Watch the whole story of God’s plan for Christ–for us–unfold and rejoice. The Christ child baby is just the beginning!