It was an ordinary night.
A young couple had a baby. Exciting, not unprecedented.
Workmen in a field nearby shielded their eyes from the sudden brightness of countless angels, singing the praises of a Savior.
“Peace on earth, goodwill to men!”
Soldiers stormed through the village, slaughtering babies, leaving wailing, bereft mothers in their wake.
Decades passed, nothing changed.
A young man staggered under the weight of the immense burden and fell to the ground. He was beaten, bloody, barely looked human. He climbed the hill of the skull and voluntarily put himself on that cross, naked, humiliated, scorned, rejected, completely innocent, carrying your sin and mine.
“It is finished!”
In this fourth week of Advent we delight in the coming of Jesus. The baby in the manger: fully human and fully God. An epic miracle, but not the end of the story. We delight in His submission to become one of us, to be obedient to the Father, to humble himself to the cross. We delight in His perfect life and sacrificial death. We delight in His finished work, our reconciliation with God.
I want to credit Jeremy Sams for the image at the top of the post. He is a Christian artist based in North Carolina. The manger is meaningless without the cross.