Thursday, December 9, 2010

In the Shadow of the Cross


The setting of Jesus' birth has always fascinated me, and I've tried to imagine what it was like for Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child on that long ago night. A night that forever changed the world! So, I enjoy seeing the many versions of the nativity scene. But my favorite is this one that granddaughter Abby and I placed in our dining room. This year I added the cross.

These simple pieces are special for several reasons. The stable was made 25+ years ago by one of my seventh-grade students, and I've used it every year since. Thanks, Jason! The figures are also that old . . . well, except for the little Indian chief you see in the front! When grandson Isaac was little, he placed that tiny figure at the manger, and each year I've added it to the group worshipping Baby Jesus. It reminds me that everyone - no matter our race or economic status or culture - needs Jesus. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us - to be the Savior of ALL of us.

This year I placed the cross beside the nativity. The red berries around the foot of the cross remind me of His blood spilled for everyone of us. Jesus' story is not complete without both - the manger and the cross! As the beautiful song says: He was born to die. For me. For you. For ALL of us.

My devotional reading for today, written by Woodie Stevens in Reflecting God, so eloquently expresses what my display depicts:
The excitement and spirit of Advent is everywhere. Elaborate decorations with bright and colorful lights transform our streets, shops, and homes. They proclaim a magnificent celebration of life. All over the world, without a word spoken or carol sung, the festive decorations declare, "God has come to be with us."

Yet in the midst of the cradle celebration, there is the dark shadow of the cross. Beyond the dazzling lights, precious lives stagger in darkness, alienation, and the wages of sin. When Christ, the head of every power and authority, became fully human and died on the cross, it appeared He had been defeated; evil had won. The innocent sweetness of a babe in a manger belies the toxic hostilities of powers and authorities deployed against humankind. But God raised Christ Jesus from the dead.

In celebrating the birth of Jesus, let us also celebrate God's power that raised Christ as victor over sin, death, and the grave. . . . Celebrate the triumphant cross at Christmas.

14 comments:

Mari said...

I really like your nativity and the addition of the Indian. Good reminder as is the cross next to it!

S. Etole said...

Love that little Indian chief and that child's heart.

Karin said...

What a meaningful post. So great to see the nativity in the shadow of the cross. Just beautiful! Thank you!

deodate said...

The shadow of the cross....and that is what Mary pondered in her heart from early on. From the prophecy in the Temple, Mary knew the sword that would pierce her heart. Love that Indian...you've made that manger your own, beautiful.
Andie

Ginny said...

I like your little cardinal staring at me when I visit! And that nativity is quite something else, unique and lovely. I don't have a nativity, it seems I am the only one who doesn't! I have been wanting one for quite some time, and like looking around at them when I shop. There are so many different kinds and styles!

Dorothy said...

Beautiful and meaningful post, GLenda. I, too, like the Indian as a reminder that Jesus the Christ came to earth for everyone. The Poem clearly tells the story of your Nativity scene.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Love your nativity, Glenda, with the little Indian. I have seen so many different ones... IF I had more room, I'd collect lots of them. BUT--think I'll just stick with the angels and wreaths.

Your cross and berries are neat also. I know that those decorations are very special to you.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

WhiteStone said...

Loved clicking on your Nativity for a closer look. And thank you for the quote...I enjoyed reading it!

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What a lovely Nativity you have. It is always good to remember the best gift ever given and the reason we celebrate.

Brenda Kay Ledford said...

I love your beautiful nativity scene with the cross beside it. I love this posting about the real meaning of Christmas.

Sue Awes said...

We are in the midst of a huge snowstorm here in Minnesota - and your beautiful post has totally warmed my morning. Thank you, Glenda, for visiting mayfirsteverlasting - as I am so happy to have found you and cannot wait to further explore listentomyheart! I feel like I have a new friend. Blessings.

B. Meandering said...

That Nativity scene is heartwarming beautiful---ones that have the background of love giving are even more special.
I love the way you've combined it with the cross and used the berries symbolicly---such an inspiration!
And the Indian chief adds an extra-special touch!

Dawn said...

Beautiful, Glenda. I love the stable and hope your student knows that you are still using it. I love the Indian standing there - and that you still use it. And the cross - such a truth we tend to forget in the joy of Christmas. Our Jewish lady that attends our church and loves SS, loves our teacher (my BIL), loves the choir - but refuses to accept the resurrection - I told her "that's what it's all about!" We pray that someday all of this will reach her soul. Have a wonderful week! I'm finally ready to get some shopping done (though not eager to go out and try with the twins), since the 5 concerts are completed. I'm TARD, as a southern friend always says.

Southern Lady said...

I love your nativity. How perfectly the cross fits next to it! Carla