Friday, December 9, 2011

the cross over the manger

Some time ago, I was “multi-tasking” in the Bible. I was planning Advent Bible studies, reading through the birth stories and making notes. And later that same day, hoping to write a devotion for the Lenten season, I read the Good Friday texts. Reading both the birth and death stories, something really struck me.

Luke 2:12 ESV

“and you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”

Luke 23: 52-53 {Joseph of Arimathea} went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down {from the Cross} and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid.”

the baby wrapped well is a sign that he was well cared for. Newborns like to be wrapped up, it helps them to feel secure.

That Jesus' body was wrapped in linen after his death was also a sign that he was being cared for, even though there was no time for the women to prepare the body with the oils and spices.

But there is obviously something more to these details! The parallels in both stories are there for a purpose. They remind us that the shadow of the cross lies over the manger. We love the Christmas story, we feel all warm and fuzzy when the children sing Away In A Manger. But Jesus didn't come just for us to feel warm and fuzzy! Jesus came-- God with us. And came as an infant! (The God of all creation!) just from love, from desire for complete relationship with us, His creation! And the only way to that complete relationship was the cross.

Jesus' mission was the cross. The One who would never sin was wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, would grow up to take ALL our sin, all the things that distract us from God for even an instant....upon Himself on the cross.

Can we remember this as we go through Advent and Christmas, can we remember to honor our Lord and do better caring for others, now and always? As we watch the children's programs, wrap the gifts, sing the songs, bake the cookies—remember, the Cross over the manger.

No comments:

Post a Comment