The shadow of cross falls upon the manger. A wooden feed trough meant for animals would give way to a wooden cross meant for criminals. The birth of a King, welcomed only by parents and shepherds to little fanfare would be replaced by a show and spectacle of judgment and the jeering of many voices at the death of this same King decades later. Tiny, innocent hands and feet yet untouched by the callouses of work and labor would later be pierced with spikes and held to a wooden cross. The Redeemer would be robed in swaddling clothes at his birth and stripped of everything at his death. Christmas is a preview of the cross.
The angel’s announcement to Joseph in Matthew 1 invites us to consider this preview.
She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
He came to save! He came to redeem! He came to forgive! He came to cleanse! His name, Jesus, means “Yahweh is salvation.” The promise of the angel is a guarantee of what he would accomplish: “He will save.”
What sin or sins do you need to be saved from? Where have you veered from Him? Where are you wrong? Where has evil crept into you heart? What habits, patterns, and flaws still cling to you?
The hope of these simple words reminds us that Jesus can and will save us from all our sins. In Mark 1, this same Jesus shows us the way to receive His forgiveness.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
Repent and believe. This is the way to the Jesus who saves. Have you? Will you?*
Let us not forget. Christmas isn’t about candy or trees, cookies or even Santa. Christmas isn’t about gifts or even primarily about giving. Christmas previews how God will save His sinful and broken world. At Christmas, we are introduced to the One who would redeem us at Easter. Christmas is about the cross!
*If you want to begin a relationship with Jesus by repenting of your sins and believing in Him, I would like to invite you to reach out to us. You can get in contact with me at 336-387-4151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.