During this season, our attention naturally turns to the manger. Even in a shallow way, our culture invites our focus to be on the birth of Christ. That’s certainly a wonderful thing but, we dare not miss the central message this the precious Baby came to die.
No matter how sweet the scene may be, we need to remember that this Child was born for an eternal purpose – a dark and painful purpose. He came to willingly offer His life for you and me.
Maybe instead of placing all the seasonal focus and attention on the manger scene, we ought to take a long look at the cross and remember the stone.
Paul urged us in Galatians 6:14 to focus on Christ’s sacrifice when he said, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Let’s take a moment to focus on the results of that sacrifice. He satisfied (once and for all) the demands of a holy and righteous God. Because He hung on that cross and freely shed His precious blood, our sin has been covered (Colossians 1:20 “…by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross”). Because He joyfully suffered, we can be justified (declared righteous, just as if we had never sinned).
Let’s take a moment to think about the stone too. Because that rock was rolled away and He rose from the dead, we are assured of the same victory. Even in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah envisioned that moment when the Messiah would “…swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:8). Death has no sting for the believer. Our Savior went forth out of the grave, and so shall we!
So, maybe Advent season is a great time to allow our focus to include more than just the manger scene. Let’s move our mind’s eye to the cross and onto the stone. That Child grew up, lived a sinless life, willingly offered Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God and three days after His horrible death rose from the grave victorious over Satan and sin. He did all that so we can join Him in victory. The cross and the stone, now there’s a Christmas message to savor.
(SHERRY WOREL, GUIDELINES INTERNATIONAL MINISTRIES)