The Cross behind the Manger

It’s that time of year again. Tinsel and ridiculous images everywhere portraying the most remarkable event of all time: the incarnation of God Himself.

I get angry at this time of year.

Very angry.

In South Africa we get all the signs: Eid Mubarak! Blessed Diwali! Happy Hannukah! Holiday Greetings!

Wait a minute… “Holiday Greetings!”? What about Christmas?

Shops will use any euphamism they can to avoid the word Christmas.

This year hasn’t been an easy one. My friends and family that I care about most have suffered loss and heartache, which makes the Cross behind the Manger more important.

The Christmas story isn’t a cute fuzzy tale to warm the heart. It’s the beginning of the most violent act of Love God ever did for His children. He took on the form of the ones He came to save. He reached out to us on our level.

Hands that had created the Heavens and Earth had to be taught to feed himself. His nappy had to be changed. He became utterly human, tempted as we are tempted. He would experience stress, hunger, grief, joy. Just like us.

He was persecuted from the day of His birth. The mission starts with genocide. Joseph and his family have to flee to Egypt to escape the slaughter of children Herod orders.

The stable-cave of Bethlehem is replaced with a life on the run. By 12 he is back in Jerusalem, understanding and talking with the leaders of the synagogues and Temple. Amazing them with his insights. Sowing the seeds of Hope into their hearts only to heav Satan sow envy and hatred alongside. How many of the younger leaders He spoke to then called for His murder 20 years later?

The purpose of the manger is the Cross and the Empty Tomb.

Not presents.

Not a cute story.

Victory over Death. Salvation from Hell. Restoration of Relationship with the Creator Incarnate.

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