We are in Houston today, spending Christmas with Jinny’s mother and family. Its been a good day, even though our Christmas’ have not really been the same since losing my mother and Jinny’s dad to cancer in the last several years. The joy comes from being together with family, sharing Christmas memories. It comes with watching the excitement and wonder in the kids’ faces at the candlelight service, while looking under the tree with mischief and going to bed on Christmas eve with thoughts of Santa on their mind.
I opened the Houston Chronicle this morning and saw a one-page ad, with "Across the manger of Bethlehem lay the shadow of the cross." As I read down to the bottom of the page, I noticed it was from Hobby Lobby Stores. I had forgotten that they run these ads. I was glad to see a company put so much into promoting Christmas and reminding people about Jesus, but it struck me as funny that our message as Christians is bumper-sticker theology, all too often limited and narrow.
The point of the message can appear to be just about our need of getting into heaven instead of comprehending the meaning of the life of Jesus and what it means for our lives today as Jesus’ followers. We jump from Jesus birth to death in a single leap. I wonder if non-Christians read it and never hear the part of the good news Jesus espoused between the manger and the cross. I believe in the manger and the cross, but we must look at what Jesus did and said in between those two events to understand why both happened.
May this new year be one of soaking ourselves the years in between the manger and the cross, learning what Jesus had to say and do and what that means for our lives in this world today. May our neighbors, co-workers, and newspaper readers get a fuller witness of Jesus than yet provided.