Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Manger and the Cross

This week, midway through Advent, I'm leading a Bible study of prophecies of Jesus' birth, and editing a booklet of devotions for the Lenten season! The booklet is titled “What Wondrous Love is This”. As I was working on it, I was reminded of another time I read through Christmas and Good Friday texts all in the same day.
Several years ago, I was reading through the birth narratives for a Bible study. I'd been asked what is the significance of the baby Jesus being wrapped in swaddling clothes. I explained that is a sign that the baby Jesus was well cared for. Even though Mary didn't have a midwife or female relatives to help, she and Joseph knew what to do for the infant! Later that day, to write a devotion for a Lenten publication, I read the Good Friday story. And was struck by parallels in the texts.
In Luke chapter 2: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger,...”

in Luke 23:{Joseph of Arimathea}asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock,..”

The baby Jesus was born to go to the Cross. The shadow of the cross lies over the manger. On the Silent Night, Holy Night of Christmas, we are just beginning to learn "What Wondrous Love is This!"

Holy God, as we prepare for the upcoming holidays, help us to always remember You first, to remember both the manger and the cross! That You chose to come from Heaven for both, purely out of love. Help us to revel in YOUR love, and share it with all we meet, this Christmas and always. In Jesus' Name, Amen.  

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