The unthinkable happened the other day. I saw Christmas decorations and holiday gifts out on display. And it is not even Halloween! But instead of complaining to the store manager, I decided to use this opportunity to start thinking about what Christmas is all about.
And as I focused my attention to that manger, my mind’s eye quickly turned to the related subjects of the cross and the stone. Now I know that there is a plethora of great reasons to muse on that baby born, but I dare not miss the central message that that precious baby came to die. He came to die for you and I.
And that’s why (as folks are grabbing up costumes and pumpkins) it’s a great time to take a long look at the cross. And echo Paul’s thoughts in Galatians 6:14: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…”
Let’s focus too 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, my sin has been covered (Col. 1:20 “…by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross”). Because He joyfully suffered, I am justified. (That’s a big theological term that the kids might say another way, it is just as if I had never sinned).
And this week, take a moment to think about the stone too. Because that rock was rolled away and He rose from the dead, I am assured of the same victory. Even in the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah envisioned that moment when the Messiah would “…swallow up death forever” (Isa. 25:8). Death has no sting for the believer. Our Savior went forth out of the grave, and so shall we!
So, those silly marketing geniuses that think that their early display of holiday trinkets will get us in the mood for shopping have missed the mark. Instead, let us reorient our thinking and take the opportunity to have wonderful, meaningful early thoughts about what Christmas is really all about. Let us focus on the cross and the stone!