What is the manger without the cross?
It’s really easy for all of us to embrace the manger. It’s a sweet, mysterious story. Even people who don’t believe a word of it still admit that it’s an ok story. And they certainly embrace what they get out of it – which is, well, everything that you can get at the Seasonal aisles of every single store there is. It’s magical. We love magical.
But we also get the point. The point of it all. Jesus born to live and die and live again. And for what? To bring peace on earth. What does that even mean?
We tend to want peace to mean no fighting or war. We think of peace as a lightly falling snow with a warm cup of something or other in our hands and our kids nestled quietly in their beds and not getting up or yelling at each other for oh 8 hours would be good. We tend to put peace in momentary terms. Like waking up slowly in my husband’s arms and realizing we have absolutely nothing we HAVE to get done today.
But then you get up and have to live. And peace dissipates into the thin air.
It isn’t a moment though. It’s an ancient word. It’s before time was time. It was started maybe with a twinkle in God’s eye. It was the skillfully crafted foundation that the world has since slipped off of.
We have tried to build our own foundations, some semblance of peace. We have our own ideals and values to build on. we have some sense of family and industry and wealth and health and some other things to build our kingdoms. We try to build them on these things, but they were never meant to be in the foundation. We were meant to build them on top of something but nothing stands.
We must build on peace – God’s peace. How is that made? How is that formed? What aisle of Home Depot can we buy those materials? We build His peace. We must build on Jesus.
We get the manger. We get the cross. We didn’t choose to be born. We probably won’t choose to die. But we do both. And we do get to choose to follow the King. We do get to pick up the cross he bore. It’s lighter than his. It’s easier than his. It carries his glory. It carries his identity. It carries his strength and honor. It carries his hope. So I cling to that old rugged cross, but more than that, I bear it and carry it to the glory of God.
And only through the cross do we get peace – real peace – lasting peace – shalom. The making of all things new and right and good and just and beautiful and glorious. we long for that. We hope for that. And as we build hope, we build peace.
Help us build Your peace.