From The Cradle To The Cross

December 5, 2014
by Lori Ciccanti

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. (ASV)

One year, my daughter gave me a beautiful glass nativity scene for Christmas. At night, when lit, it gives a warm, peaceful feeling, reminding me that Jesus is the light of the world. Still, what makes this ornament special to me is the cross in the background standing tall over the manger scene. Reflecting on these two images together — the cradle and the cross — the following messianic Scriptures came to mind, which are the essence of God's purpose in sending His Son:

Psalm 22:14-16 – I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. (NIV)

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV)

Zechariah 12:10a – And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child. (NIV)

Hence, the Messiah was born to die.

I really like John MacArthur's insights regarding the nativity story because his thoughts express the point that I am trying to get across:

    Here's a side to the Christmas story that isn't often told: those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant's head with sparking eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. ("God With Us, The Miracle of Christmas", John F. MacArthur, Zondervan Publishing Company, 1990, p. 116)

Have you ever thought of Christ's birth that way?

From this vantage point, perhaps we will see Christmas from a slightly different perspective this year: the cross is the reason for the season. May we never forget the price our Saviour paid to give us the free gift of eternal life.

Prayer: We thank You, Father, for sending Your only begotten Son into the world to redeem us from the curse of sin. As we celebrate the Messiah's birth, help us to see the cross behind the manger, a cross despised by the world but precious to all who believe. May Christ alone be the focus of our holidays, and His salvation the hope and centre of our lives. In Jesus' holy name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Blessed thoughts Lori.


    What wonderful, comforting thoughts! Bless you, Lori!


    There is a carol, “Just a Cradle in the Shadow of the Cross”. It’s my favorite.


    Lori, this devotional ‘nailed’ the reason for the season, Jesus came as more than a cuddly baby. He came as our Redeemer. Thanks for writing for Him. Blessings.


    What a beautiful devotion!! I love reading what you write. I feel the Holy Spirit has reached me by your writing!!!!
    Thank you,
    (Fl)


    Dear Lori,
    What great imaging – the cradle overshadowed by the Cross. Thank you for bringing the true message of Christmas through this beautiful writing. God bless you and yours during this Holy Season.


    Beautiful Lori, so well written. It made me think of my daughter when she was a baby too. We don’t know what our beautiful babies will have to go through in this life, but thank God, He has a good plan for them through Jesus our Savior. God bless you and your family this Christmas.


    Lori,
    Wow, what well written piece. This truly is a new way for me to see this season differently.
    Thanks for your insight.
    Merry Christmasy good friend.


    My Dear Lori what a wonderful Devotional. It has given me food for thought and also in a strange way given me insight and peace. Thank you. May you have a great Christmas and a Happy and prosperous 2015. May God bless you and yours.
    (Northern Ireland)


    Dear Lori,
    Thank you for your devotional.
    The paragraph you quote from John MacArthur is very, very pertinent, poignant, and helpful.
    Keep writing,


    Hi Lori, Thanks for sharing those very appropriate thoughts for this Advent/Christmas season.
    That verse from psalm 22 was one I guess I hadn’t particularly noticed before.
    Your thought for the day was especially good.
    May you and yours have a blessed Christmas.


    Hi Lori. This one really made me think past saying Jesus is the reason for the season and really thinking of Him and his life. We should be really thankful and feeling blessed that Jesus was born.
    I wish you and your whole family have a wonderful preChristmas.
    Thank you.


    “Hence the Messiah was born to die.”
    We, too, were born to die….into a world that did not ask us to come. God called us into a service we did not seek. God blesses us far more than we deserve. If we are faithful, our reward will be to spend eternity with Him, in Peace, Love, and Joy!
    Yes, we, too, were born to die. Die to the world and all its worldly ‘pleasures’ and live to love and serve the Lord.
    I certainly follow your reasoning, and that of whom you quote. However, for me, behind the Star of Bethlehem, I see Resurrection Sunday! Jesus was born to rise again! He was born of the flesh, and of the Spirit, to show us the way to Heaven. His death, and ours, is the only way.
    May you and those you love have a Blessed Christmastide.
    Amen.


    Hi Lori.
    I really identify with you in this devotional as I did a presentation called Christmas, is it Worth it at our Ladies’ Christian Women’s Group that highlighted the same ideas and feelings.
    Bless you.

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