Thursday, December 25, 2008

the cross and Christmas

The cross has been more on my mind I think than at any Advent season before. It's not hard to guess that this is indicative of God's work in me to change me. The cross in Jesus puts to death all that is not of God's creation and will, and resurrects- life out from death- what is in God's new creation and will in Jesus. This begins at baptism for the Christian (however you may interpret Romans 6, and I would say strictly speaking, it begins at faith which I believe is understood to underlie baptism), and is ongoing throughout one's life in Jesus. We're to live out daily the truth of our baptism. In other words this is from God, but we are active in it in faith, as well.

God in Christ became human, a little baby, for our salvation, for the world, and for all of creation. The scope of what happened is truly beyond us, as well as us really grasping the meaning of it, as one commenter said on this blog, yesterday. And all that Jesus is and does is the mirror image of God. So that his life, words, and works all reflect God. And no less his death for us on the cross. This all reflects who God is, the very heart of God. The saying is true: He was born to die, that we (men) might live.

So as we celebrate the wondrous coming of God in the flesh, the birth of Jesus, let's remember as well the shadow of the cross which hung over his birth, and over Jesus' entire life. A necessary climax and part of his work and the fulfillment of all that God had given his people in covenant love. And part of the true meaning of Christmas which is all but lost in so much of our culture and activity surrounding it.

What might you like to add to this?


Lanny said...

I too thought frequently of the cross, Mary's ponderings perhaps began the unseasonal, yet seasonal, attraction.

The picture I chose to take this morning before our celebration began was of the sunrise of course but also includes the snags on our far pond. They have always caused to bring the cross to my mind when ever I pause to take them in.

Of course this morning in my prayers they took me deeper and wider than other mornings. When I was a young child I only wanted to think of the baby Jesus on Christmas, and was cranky with those who would mention the cross and His death.

Now that I have experienced death, that I have come up against what it means to no longer feel the sting of death and to embrace the death of the slave to sin, now I look forward to the cross at Christmas.

I can't remember when, but I found a large square spike around our farm. It must have been close to Christmas because it came to be tied with a long narrow red ribbon and hung upon our Christmas tree. The ribbon trailing through the branches like Christ's blood through creation, history, my life.

Thank you for your thoughtful caring posts, they make me ponder many truths. Merry Blessed Christmastide

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. And for what you share here. Rich, really. What God wants for all of us as his children here and now. Not an easy road, but the road to life and all that is a part of that in Jesus. Yes, may God help me to embrace more and more the cross in Jesus, and all that that means in my individual life, in community with others, and in mission to the world.

Nice to hear too how what you see on your pond reminds you of the cross!

And hope you and yours had a special day yesterday in celebrating Jesus' birth.