The very first Christmas is said to have been when Christ Jesus was born in Bethlehem nearly two thousand years ago. I have started to think that the very first Christmas actually happened thirty three years later in a garden. It was there, in that garden, that God unwrapped the tomb to let the world see that the greatest gift ever given was no longer in a box.
We know that the babe Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths at his birth and placed in a manger. We also know that his tomb was wrapped in a Roman seal. Both of these maneuvers were to provide safety. The swaddling cloths were to keep baby Jesus warm and safe from the elements. The Roman seal was to keep the world safe from the supposed radically, rebellious heretic adult Jesus.
The manger is only relevant in view of the Cross. And the Cross is only relevant in view of the empty tomb. Without the manger there is no need for the Cross and without the Cross there is no need for am empty tomb. So we understand that all three are intertwined in God’s tapestry of providing the world with the solution to all of its problems.
The Cross is the tension point between the birth and new birth of Jesus Christ. The Cross is central to all that is Christianity. It is a Cross, not simply because of its shape but because it is there that people stand at the crossroad of difficulty. The Cross requires a person to validate what they believe about the manger and the empty tomb.
To believe in what Jesus did at the Cross means that you also believe what God did in the life of the virgin Mary. To believe in the Cross also means that you believe what God did at Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb.
There is no room for vacillation.
At the Cross you stand there pointing in two opposite directions. It is at the Cross that you turn your head in this direction and that direction. And it is there that you realize that not only did Christ die for you but He died there as you. It is as you stand there with arms wide open that you get the revelation that you were crucified with Christ.
It is at this point that you realize what Christmas is really all about. The greatest gift the world has ever received is no longer in a box.
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury