The Cross and the Manger


40 Days of Hope-Day 36

At Christmas we celebrate His coming but sometimes we forget why He came.

The Manger and the Cross
Some years ago during the Christmas season I was cleaning out my garage and was inspired to use materials left over from various projects to build a manger.
Woodworking/construction is not my greatest talent, but having the desire, time, and materials I decided to give a try.
I was impressed with the finished product.
It looked like mangers I had seen in pictures, and what I imagined Jesus first resting place would look like.
As I was building the manger the idea came to build a cross as well.
I think this was the first time that I really made the connection between the two events.
Birth and death.
At Christmas we celebrate His coming but sometimes we forget why He came.
Max Lucado writes this in his book “Because of Bethlehem”
Jesus came to save us, not just from our enemies, our addictions, our brokenness, and our difficulties.
Jesus came to save us from our sins.
The humble manger our Savior slept in was the beginning of the journey that would accomplish His purpose.
While it is right and good to celebrate His birth, must not forget to also celebrate His greatest gift, salvation that came on the cross at Calvary.



“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”. I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis. Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full. “ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”. ( 1 Corinthians 13:12). My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been. I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten. I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis. I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change. I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life. If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad. One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather. One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness. All part of a story that has had many twists and turns. I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs "As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles" And so it is true for me. But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed. The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins! "" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns". Philippians 1:6 My hope is that as we all run our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written. And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you. Further up and further in!
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