7 Days Until Christmas

In just a week we will celebrate the birth of the Christ child. We rejoice in the new life, the hope of His coming and the gift of salvation. The birthday of the King rejuvenates our love and faith in beautiful miracles.

Now let's fast-forward to a later chapter of the story. That tiny baby has grown up and is now the focus of hateful and evil men. He has been arrested, tortured and hung on the cross to die a humiliating death. He is mocked, scorned and hated from every side.

That's not the Christmas story...that's the Easter story! We don't want to think about the ugly and the brutal and the sin. Advent is about expectations and renewal. Christmas is about birth and life and joy. Thinking about Jesus' death doesn't fit into that pretty, pure picture.

But the end of the story makes us treasure the beginning of the story so much more. The Son of God was willing to give all just for me. He left His throne in Heaven for you. He gave every drop of blood He had for the hateful, sinful, angry, bitter people who crucified Him. And He gave of Himself for every person who would ever be born.

Without the cross, the manger is just a feeding trough. Without the cross, the angels just came to sing a pretty song. Without the cross, the wise men were just passing through. Without the cross, the shepherds had nothing to praise God for. And without the cross, there is no anticipation because there's no joyful climax to the story.

We can celebrate babies, snowflakes and presents all Advent season, but without the cross at the center of our celebration, we're missing the point. Jesus Christ came to earth more than 2000 years ago to die on the cross. He taught, healed and loved along His journey, but the cross was always His focus. He came to take on the sins of the world so that we could believe and have eternal life.
And that is why Christmas should be such a festive holiday. That baby in the manger became the Savior of the world by going to the cross, dying and resurrecting. Praise be to God! That's something worth celebrating!

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