From the Cradle to the Cross

Gwen Smith Blog, Devotions, Forgiveness, God's Promises, Worship 20 Comments

Christmas mystery

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.


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


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.



What it would look like for you to be gripped by a fresh and compelling awe of God’s love today?




Lost In Praise



Thanks for doing life with me!



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.




Comments 20

  1. Dear Gwen:

    I too am an unashamed believer of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. However. in my weakness and because I am a sinner I have lived a life of ups and downs.
    During my ups it was all in my power and during my downs I searched frantically for His saving grace and peace and to know He is real.

    To make my story short I went from a childhood of emotional abuse as my mother and eldest sister were mentally ill, being brought up as a Catholic, to becoming very independant and strong, to having an abortion, to running away from Him when my niece was killed, to teaching Sunday School, to having marriage problems, to raising 3 beautiful children, to broken relationship with one daughter, to having cancer, depression, to symptoms of neuropathy (pain), to searching for answers, to developing relationships with CRC, to reading all sorts of spiritual books and devotionals, to going to Dunamis Conference to learn about the Holy Spirit, to being restored to joy and to again this November at Dunamis Conference learning about the Holy Spirits Power. I am now 65 years old and…

    This is the testimony that after all the news about wars, poverty, illness. sickness, disease, droughts, floods, murders, evils, lack of attendance in churches, there is still God’s love, God is still with us and there is also “Good News”.

    “He healed my neuropathy this November during our pray for advancing His kingdom. No one was praying for healing but He still healed myself and another woman with the fulfillment of joy.” I’m no longer on medication and no longer need them because His healing is throughout.

    People need to know that God is real. His providence, sovereignty and tender mercies are there and we all need to believe this and live His love in this fallen world.

    Bless you for your mission for encouragement of His word for strength in weakness. May we give to Him praise and glory for the amazing things that He does!

    Merry Christmas.

  2. Thank you for reminding me that God wants all of me; not just the frazzled, over-worked, over-burdened, over everything that is left when the dust finally settles! Oh, how I sat at my desk and just cried. Crying out to God through your music! Love me some GIG’s and the daily devotions! Always speak volumes to me at times when I seem to need it the most. Isn’t that just like God!!!

  3. You spoke right into the jagged edges of my “no time, way too much to do” day, Gwen. Jesus spoke through you. I just looked up and noticed that the sun is just rising over the edge of my horizon, lighting up the bare branches of the thin rails of trees in my back yard… The snow below is crisp and white, there’s a potency in this moment, to look to the divine love of God, let go of all the “must do’s” and rest only in His matchless grace. Winter’s long nights will soon be past. I want to watch in wonder as He unfolds His great mysteries, and leave my expectations on the floor, in the dust, uncluttered.

  4. I strangely am happier to stay in pain and brokeness because it is familiar. I am scared to risk asking God to heal me and to face the unknown area of what life might be like then.

    1. I often feel this way~~~~ “the devil you know is less scary than the one you don’t know” Or something like that. The familiararity of pain is very soothing….Many days I can ignore this because in truth I have a wonderful life of children, grandchildren, friends, and a wonderful church….but then I am alone at home and the thoughts of the past prevail. I guess I will just keep plugging along – with God’s help – to always see the beauty of this life God has given me. God Bless you in your journey>>>>>>

  5. Jesus….may your light and love shine as bright in me,today and every day, as if you were walking amongst us…..may your will be done in our lives, may we experience LIFE, as you intended it to be… to your glory
    ….Happy Birthday!

  6. I will live in responsive awareness of His grace. The Holy Spirit touched me this morning through this devotion. The only thing I want is to be His reflection to the lost in this broken world. Thank you for being obedient to God’s calling on your life! May He continue to bless you richly!

  7. Last couple days the Holy Spirit reminded me of my first love Song of Songs. That was went I was in my teens. It show what love feel like. I lost that which He return to me. I see thing in a different light.

  8. Today I will live in responsive awareness of his Grace….Thank you for this devotion and the beautiful blessing of your voice on your blog….it lifted me from a heavy morning to a relaxing continuation of my day.God Bless You!

  9. Thank you Gwen for your inspiring words. I hope that when people see me or talk with meothey see, feel and hear the love and grace of Jesus. I’ve read quite a few blog’s about remembering what Christmas is all about and putting Christ in my Christmas, but this one touched me most. Thank you again!!

  10. Today, I will live in responsive awareness of His grace! Thank you for your service to our awesome God and Savior Jesus Christ! Beautifully expressed article pointing to the Giver of Gifts and the greatest gift to mankind. I can only pray that this world moves away from the commercialism that has robbed the true meaning of Christmas to the true meaning of life… our greatest gift, our only hope, Jesus Christ. God bless you and continue to full you with words that will change hearts and lives!

  11. “Today, I will live in responsive awareness of His grace.” I choose this and desire to do it every day. Great devotion (if I may), Gwen. Thank you very much. I have to give some thought to what it would like for me to be gripped by a fresh and compelling awe of God’s love today 🙂

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