The Cradle and the Cross

There are things on our Christmas tree that remind of us the nativity scene. We have a star on top, to remind us of the star the Magi followed to find the Christ. We have white lights to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. And as John 1 reminds us, that light was coming into the world and darkness cannot overcome it. We have gifts under the tree to remind us of the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, for all who believe and call him Lord. Like our little ceramic figurines sitting in the miniature barn on the coffee table, these things are but simple reminders. I don’t feel too bad about their simplicity because it’s much like taking the Lord’s Supper. How can a small cracker and tiny cup even come close to remind us of the magnitude of our crucified and risen Lord? Yet is is helpful to have reminders.

We have something else on our tree. At times it has drawn comments and attention. “Isn’t that better for Easter?” I’ve heard. What is it? Well, we have a cross on our tree. More than one, actually.

I greatly appreciate that our decorations include the cross. The cross on a Christmas tree serves as a strong reminder that the baby Jesus entered humble humanity in terrible circumstances to do more than give us Christmas. He came to give us Easter. Christmas is the start of a celebration that culminates with an empty tomb. The baby was laid in a manger—the man was laid in a tomb. Both significant. Both meaningful. Neither are the end of the story. The tomb is empty and a baby born in humble beginnings is the King of all kings.

When I look to Christmas, I think more about an empty tomb than I do about ‘no room at the inn.’ I think about a King on the Throne. I think about my Savior and salvation, a rescue beyond what any sinner could accomplish.

The cross on our Christmas tree is another reminder of Christ and why we call him Savior. It seems only fitting to have such an ornament on our tree.

Merry Christmas!
Bryan Catherman