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 supposed Bible-believing religious leaders who finally succeeded where Herod had failed. His friends fled from him at his trial. His family fled to Egypt when he was a toddler.
This is not exactly the story one would expect for the greatest life ever lived. If someone were to come to your church to speak and his bio read like Christ’s, you would be skeptical, at best. But 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 people who were his enemies. The angels burst into praise at his birth. The earth shook at the inequity of his death.
The story of Jesus is one that is unexpected and unsettling. Greatness is not supposed to come from disgrace. The world at the time of Christ, just like today, was not impressed by his birth or death. Our modern culture is consumed with giving and more urgently, receiving gifts! The focus is on material blessings that have little regard for the person of Jesus. Our culture 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 and He didn’t hang out with the rich and famous.
He led a life of purity, holiness, 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 we have life.
Tell your children his story – from the manger to the cross.