The Manger & The Cross
We all think of Christmas as a time of joy, peace, love, and hope. People speak of “Christmas spirit” as a seasonal attitude of kindness, gratitude, and goodwill. After all, the message of the angels was “good news of great joy, that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10). With a backdrop of tranquil nativity scenes, people ponder the gentle cooing of a baby in a manger, with wonder and awe in their hearts.
Yet if you drive by Fellowship Church you will see a physical cross looming over the manger. This may be surprising, and even questioned by some. Why would we add a device of torture and death in such a peaceful scene? It is because we know that Jesus was sent from heaven with a purpose. This child would indeed bring peace on earth, just as God promised, but that fulfillment could never happen without something critical happening first…the cross. This child would be more than an example of a good human being. This child was born with a purpose of breaking the power of a curse, in order to bring eternal peace to this world.
It can be offensive to think of the broken body of Christ while also reflecting on Him as a baby. We cringe at the thought of this innocent, perfect baby suffering and dying. Yet we remember that our all-knowing God was fully aware of the suffering to come…and He sent His Son anyway.
So why do we think of the manger and the cross at the same time? Because God had both in mind at the same time, and doing so can help us understand His loving heart even more. He SO loved the world, that He sent His Son, knowing that the baby in the manger would one day face the cross, and through His victory over death, would truly bring peace on earth in His eternal kingdom.