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'Winging It

    by Stan Smith

Keeping the Cross in Christmas
Date Posted: January 26, 2022

We all know that Christmas and Christ are too easily separated these days. Has been for some time. It's about "the season", a "feeling in the air", a "sense of good will", a family thing. It's lights and decorations and trees and presents. It's good deeds and all that good stuff. It's "What can I get?" and all that bad stuff. And every Christian knows to some extent that we need to work to keep Christ in Christmas. You may go to the extreme of skipping gifts and decorations (good luck with that) or just work at keeping Him central in all your doings.

One thing I think is equally essential and probably never considered is keeping the Cross in Christmas. "What? What in the world are you talking about??" Well, here's what Paul told the Church at Corinth:

I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
As it turns out, the early Church did not celebrate Christmas. Oh, let's not get too upset about that. It's not that they were too stodgy. It's that no one celebrated birthdays. Death days, perhaps, but not birthdays. The early Church thought that Christians should not only refrain from celebrating their birthdays, but should look on them with disgust (see Origen in his commentary "On Levites"). That passed, of course, but it is the primary reason that we don't know Christ's birthday. It wasn't important. That He was born? Important. When He was born? Not so much.

What was essential, then, was "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." What was important was the Gospel:
I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
You see, Jesus was -- uniquely, in fact -- born in a cradle that swung over a grave. We are all born and will die, but He was born to die. His miraculous birth would have meant nothing at all if He didn't go to that cross on our behalf.

Jesus's birth is important, joyous, wonderful. "Tidings of great joy." What tidings? "There has been born for you a Savior" (Luke 2:11). That's the good news. Not that a baby was in the manger, but that a Savior had been born. ThatSavior would be our Savior by means of the cross.

Remember that little baby. Remember the Virgin Birth. Remember the shepherds and the kings, the angels and the star. Remember it all. But remember above all else that the key is "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" -- the Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Be sure, in your Christmas celebrations, to keep the Cross in Christmas.

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Biography Information:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. 'But God ...' I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.

I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.

For more writings you can see my blog at birdsoftheair.blogspot.com.
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