Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Methodist minister Monk Bryan told a story about driving to church with his family one Christmas Sunday morning. His young son asked him, “Dad, are you going to allow us to enjoy Christmas this morning, or are you going to explain it?”
I understand how that little boy feels. Those of us who are pastors sometimes feel the need to overly explain the meaning of Christmas. And there is a reason for that. We have allowed secularists to obscure the meaning of this holiday. Even religionists have missed the entire point of Christ’s coming. So there is a need to explain Christmas. But I want to do more than explain Christmas to you; I want us to enjoy Christmas.
If you were to ask the average person on the street, “What are the symbols of Christmas?” they would probably answer, “The candy cane, the Christmas tree, and Santa Claus.” This week, we are going to look at the three symbols that explain the Christmas story: the cradle, the cross, and the crown.
The first symbol of Christmas is the cradle. This is where it all began from a human perspective. Someone once asked designer Gianni Versace about his religious opinions. He replied, “I believe in God, but I’m not the kind of religious person who goes to church, who believes in the fairy tale of Jesus born in the stable with the donkey. That, no–I’m not stupid. I can’t believe that God, with all the power that he has, had to have himself born in a stable. It wouldn’t have been comfortable!” Versace was right on one point: it was not comfortable for God to leave Heaven and come to a manger.
Yet that is exactly what happened. The Apostle Paul explained what Christ did in Philippians 2:5-8: “Christ Jesus … although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
One writer describes the cradle of Christmas this way: “Stepping from the throne, [Jesus] removed his robe of light and wrapped himself in skin: pigmented, human skin. The light of the universe entered a dark, wet womb. He whom angels worship nestled himself in the placenta of a peasant, was birthed into the cold night, and then slept on cow’s hay.”
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Cradle, The Cross, And The Crown” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Gianni Versace, “The Emperor of Dreams,” interview by Andre Lee, “New Yorker,”July 28, 1997, 47; Max Lucado, “In the Grip of Grace” (Nashville: ThomasNelson, 2014), 158.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.