Over two thousand years ago, in the small town of Bethlehem, a child was born. He was one of many children born in Bethlehem that year. And he was, to all appearances, just another child.
But this child was unique. Nine months prior to his birth, the Holy Spirit had ‘come upon’ Mary, and she had conceived. This child she carried for nine months and who was then born in Bethlehem and placed in a manger, was both God and man.
But why? Why did God become human, spend nine months in Mary’s womb; go through infancy, childhood, and adolescence; teach for a few years; and then die on the cross?
This baby was the long-hoped-for Messiah. The one who would bruise the serpent’s head. Who would deliver his people from their bondage. And who would reign eternally on David’s throne?
But he accomplished all of that through his death on the cross. Jesus was born to die, atoning for my sin. And then, in his resurrection, to provide eternal life to all who would believe in him.
Please, this Christmas, do not separate the manger from the cross. The manager, and the baby it held, only have significance because of the cross and the empty tomb. The Old Rugged Cross has just as much relevance at Christmas as Away in a Manger.