The nativity set has been put up outside the Seminary’s chapel. It’s only a few feet away from a large wooden cross our students erected several years ago. The proximity of manger to cross is symbolic. “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). Jesus’ birth didn’t redeem us, but it was necessary so He might take our place “under the law.” It was on the cross the Son of God accomplished our reconciliation to the Father.
“The feebleness of the churches is being criticized today,” began Oswald Chambers a century ago, “and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this concentration of spiritual energy; we have not brooded enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of Redemption” (November 26).
You look at the crèche and the cross, they’re external, but unless they enter your heart, they are mere decorations. Internalize them by remembering, “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11). The Spirit that brooded over the waters at creation internalizes cross and crèche for your redemption. The result is holiness, given and practiced. “Be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). What sin will you stop doing?
The nativity set comes and goes according to the season, but the wooden cross remains every day throughout the year. “Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore” (Psalm 93:5).