Monday, December 24, 2012

Without the Cross, There is No Christmas


(Today's post is a special Christmas message. My regular message will be posted December 26.)

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;…
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear
of the LORD. 
Isaiah 11:2 NKJV

            This is the time of year when Christians recognize and celebrate the first coming of the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ – the long expected, only Son who carries the titles of God and Everlasting Father.
           
            It is the time of celebrating when God, the Father, came to Earth in the form of a human baby, so that when Jesus is fully seen and known then the Father is fully seen and known.   
           
            It is a time when many of us set up a Christmas tree – either fake or real – as a symbol of the holiday we recognize. Do you know why you put up a tree? Do you know what that tree symbolizes?
           
            When you look at the tree of Christmas, do you see the cross of Easter?
           
            For without that cross, there is no Christmas to celebrate. There is no reason for the tree.
           
            It is the cross of Christ and His resurrection that gives the Christmas tree its symbolism of hope and eternal life.  
           
            Let me repeat this: When God, the Father, came to Earth in the form of a human baby, so that when Jesus is fully seen and fully known then the Father is fully seen and fully known. There is no explaining it away. The Scripture is clear: This Jesus, this Son, this baby, is God. The King. Our King.
            
           We can’t have it any other way.
           
            The point is clear: if you look upon Jesus and do not know who He is, if you do not see Him as anything other than a special baby or a wise, prophetic man, if you do not see Him as the redeeming Savior of the world, then you do not – cannot – truly understand or embrace Christmas. If you do not understand and accept the sacrifice of the cross and the resurrection then you do not know and cannot glory in the fullness, wonder or splendor of Christmas and its symbolic tree. The meaning of it remains shallow and fleeting. As much as you try to grasp Christmas’s significance, you miss out on its joy and its promise. You miss out on its eternal hope.
           
            You see the pine tree as just another luscious, aromatic conifer that holds pretty, twinkling lights and family heirloom decorations to enjoy.
           
            If you do not know the cross and receive the sacrifice Christ made for you there, then you do not know and have the Son.
           
            If you do not know and have the Son, then you cannot know and have the Father.
           
            You live without the hope and promise of God.
           
            The Christmas tree is just another tree; the day really is just another day, except that you enjoy getting paid to stay home from work and appreciate getting presents for no special reason.
           
            This Christmas, like all others, Jesus asks again: “Who do you say I am?”   
           
            It’s a question none of us can avoid; it’s a question all of us are asked.
           
            What will you do with the Savior this Christmas? How will you answer His question?
           
            When you look at the tree of Christmas, do you see the cross?


…then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 
Zechariah 12:10b NKJV

Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Revelation 1:7 NKJV


May you feel the love and hope of Christ this Christmas Day!

May the tree of Christmas remind you of the cross.

Blessings,

Andrea
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My regular post will appear in two days, December 26. See you then!