From the Cradle to the Cross

Gwen Smith Blog, Devotions, Forgiveness, God's Promises, Worship 6 Comments

The story of Christmas is familiar. Many of us can recite verses and sing choruses that recap the holy day without so much as a second thought. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt – so I wonder.

I wonder and I search my heart.

When I sit and search long enough to listen to God’s still small voice, I grapple with the familiar and I groan for the fresh… and I wonder. Have I shopped, cleaned, and baked away the season without bending a knee to worship the Savior? Have I decorated my home, but failed to focus my heart?

The story of Christmas is the ultimate story of life, of hope, of freedom. The beautiful and mysterious intersection of humanity’s depravity and Divinity’s provision. (TWEET this!) A complex invasion of darkness by light. By love. By a love that breathes life and brings beauty.

A LOVE THAT BREATHES LIFE

In the beginning, Love breathed life into the made-from-dust lungs of Adam. Life-giving love. The perfect and complete love of a holy, triune, eternal God who spoke words and created new galaxies – new wonders – new worshipers. All was made so that He might be glorified. (Another TWEETABLE!)

We His image bearers, however, are different from all other creation in that we are made to know Him. Personally. To know Love. True, pure, eminent love.

Then, stains of rebellion brought separation. Rebellion of God’s plan – of His spoken word, of His will. Human wants and desires rose to rule – our own wills were done instead of God’s: in the Garden… in my life… in yours.

And though rebellion demands death, (Romans 6:23) God’s love pursues with life-giving power. This Love that descended from heaven to earth, came to speak life to death through the incarnate Grace that was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a humble manger. From the cradle to the cross, Jesus came on a love mission.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10

A LOVE THAT BRINGS BEAUTY

Jesus came upon the no-vacancy scene in Bethlehem to annihilate death – so that we, who are hopeless without Him, could experience love, forgiveness and freedom. Full life. Abundant life. Beauty-from-ashes life.

Childhood gave way to manhood, and at the age of thirty, Jesus Christ made his love mission known. While in a synagogue in Galilee, he unrolled an ancient scroll and found the place where it is written: 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, 
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:14-21

The story of Christmas is the story of Jesus. The story of captives being set free, of the blind gaining sight, and of our stains of rebellion being washed white in his blood.

The story of Christmas is the story of life.

Today, as we move and meander in the mundane, I pray that you would join me in being gripped by a fresh and compelling awe for this perfect Love that breathes life and brings beauty to our brokenness.

Holy LORD,

Incarnate Grace, You are beyond amazing! My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude for Your love. Help me to live in responsive awareness of Your grace.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE:

What it would look like for you to be gripped by a fresh and compelling awe of God’s love today? Tell me on Instagram or on the wall of my blog.

Let’s spend a few moments in worship together in response to today’s post:

Thanks for doing life with me!

GWEN

There are endless opportunities for us to worry, wander, and wonder. But that’s not God’s best for us. Though we remain broken and impacted by an imperfect world, you and I can get through anything in the power and hope of Jesus. CLICK HERE to get a FREE Ebook: 7 Day I WANT IT ALL Devotional and Bible Study, and join me as I share Biblical truth, honest struggles, and practical help.


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Comments 6

  1. Thank you Gwen for the articles they have helped me so much over the past few months. Just the right words for what l am going through. You see I lost my husband to cancer just 3 months ago. This has the hardest part of living without him. Not only did he pass away we were in NC as Hurricane Florence came and we were flooded. God protected us from water getting in the house but I had to call 911 to take my husband to the hospital. I was left alone over night with the storm raging and no power. Then when my husband died I had to move and get rid of everything in my house and move to Texas to live with my daughter. So grateful for her but I feel so lonely as a homeless widow. I never thought I’d be this at 72 years but I know my God has never left me and He still has a plan for me somewhere. I just miss my love and soul mate so much.

  2. To not be bogged down with fear, anxiety,and and worry about what we are going to give each other on Christmas day. Remember the true meaning of Christmas..

  3. Thank you for your beautiful Advent devotion today! While visiting a friend yesterday our subject matter was about following by example. At the end of that discussion I stated, “trained by Grace” . . . Today those words spoke back to me!!

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