The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown
Posted on Dec 17th, 2010
There are a few common, defining elements found in almost every nativity scene: Mary and Joseph with the baby Jesus in the manger, a couple of shepherds, a cow, a sheep, a donkey, and the three wise men. It's a familiar picture, a comforting and happy scene - and, many times, the first image of Jesus that is presented to wondering little minds. That's one of the best things about Christmas - it gets people thinking and talking, intentionally or not, about the Christ whose name the day bears.
Jesus' birth, the incarnation of God Almighty into human form, was by far the most significant event in history up to that point. Brought forth by a virgin and announced by angels, He fulfilled four thousand years of prophecy. However, the events that followed thirty-three years later were more significant still. On an execution hill outside Jerusalem, Jesus completed what had been his purpose all along - to lay down his sinless life and save fallen mankind from a lost eternity. But the story did not end with his death - Jesus rose again, defeating death for all who would believe, and took his place at the right hand of the Father.
One could almost say that the traditional nativity scene, on its own, is somewhat incomplete. With this in mind, Tim undertook a project in 2003 to decorate our front yard for Christmas. Employing an odd collection of scrap wood, wire, and Christmas lights, he and Jason constructed a different sort of "nativity scene" with only three pieces: The cradle, the cross, and the crown. The cross, standing eight feet tall and positioned at the top of the hill where we live, is visible for over a mile from the highway below.
After a few changes over the years, we settled on red as the most appropriate color for the cross. We feel that it best reminds those who see it what happened after Silent Night and The First Noel. The baby in the manger became the Savior who shed his blood so sinners like us could be saved, and who is now risen again, crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all eternity.
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