The thirty-three years of the life of Jesus Christ on earth held little expectation that this man’s life would be the most significant life in all of history. His life ended in public disgrace and shame. His 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. His own people, the righteous religious establishment, called him a fraud, a liar, a drunk, a blasphemer.
This is not exactly the type of narrative that would one would expect of the the greatest person to have 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 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 receiving gifts, however the focus is on material things that have little connection to the person of Jesus. Our culture cares even less for his commands.
Jesus did not leave a legacy of sound bites and campaign slogans that could be formed into meaningless cliches. He didn’t hang out with the rich, the famous and the powerful. 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 honor 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 the awesome story of those thirty-three years. Tell them the story from the manger to the cross.