God is not impressed with what impresses people. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the incarnate life of his Son, Jesus. Christ’s birth was that of a peasant and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable. He died in the company of thieves on a cross stained with his blood. The political leaders of his country tried to murder him as a baby. But it was the religious leaders 33 years later who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler. His friends fled from him at his trial.
Despite a humble birth and a disgraceful death, Jesus completed his Father’s mission. In life he kept his heart pure and sinless. In death he became the holy sacrifice for the wretched likes of me and you. The angels burst into praise at his birth. The earth shook at the inequity of his death.
The world then, just like today, was not impressed by Christ’s birth or death. Our culture now wants to celebrate his birth by ignoring his name. It cares even less for his commands. Jesus did not leave a record of sound bites and campaign slogans that could be formed into meaningless cliches. He didn’t hang out with the rich and famous. He led a life of purity, perfection, and worship. He obeyed when we would not. He loved what we hate. He hated what we love. From the manger to the cross he lived not for our praise, but for the praise of his Father. From the manger to the cross he lived a life that was truly life, so that by his life you have life.
Tell your children the story – from the manger to the cross.