From The Cradle to The Cross

As The Christmas season comes to a close, we turn our attention from the cradle to the cross. Yes, there are a few months between now and the celebration of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but these two holidays remain in our hearts all year even though they are only once on the calendar. So as I pondered the birth of Jesus during a Christmas Eve service and read my devotional Christmas morning, I was overwhelmed by the fact that celebrating Christ’s birth during December should not be a once-a-year thing for me.

The birth, death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus are everything for the Christian. Without those things, we would have no hope for this life or the next, and the happiness we experience would be fleeting and lack the true joy of knowing our creator.

I love the holidays, and I am thankful we have spots on our calendar to remember the most significant events in world history, but these events should always be in our hearts and on our minds. Each year, reading through the Bible should stir our hearts for the Savior and the redemption He accomplished.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 1 Corinthians 2:2 LSB “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking the gospel isn’t for Christians, that once we’re saved, the story of Jesus has done its work in us. The truth is, the gospel saves the unbeliever and sanctifies the believer. The gospel is a life-transforming message; the ministry of Jesus that we read about in the gospel should change us. The message Jesus preached is the message that the Apostle Paul explains and expounds upon in all His letters. The person of Jesus is who the book of Revelation is about; it’s not about the antichrist and world war; it’s about the victory of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

If you make a New Year’s resolution, let it be to connect with the Scripture and dig deep in things that interest you from your daily reading. Go back to the fundamentals and return to your first love. Do you remember the days when you couldn’t wait to read your Bible? Was there ever a time when the Old Testament interested you, and you were constantly amazed that THAT IS IN THE BIBLE!? There are so many exciting things in the Old testament that we miss out on because the enemy has convinced so many of us that it is boring and irrelevant when many of us have never even read it through even once.

Make 2022 a year that you engage the Scriptures. An excellent tool to get an overview of the Bible is Max Anders book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible. I will be going through the book starting in January. Even if you have a good grasp of the Bible, using a book like this will cause you to pay attention to things you haven’t before. Of course, we should all be familiar with the Bible, but there is a danger in allowing ourselves to become so acquainted with the stories that we start glossing over things because ‘I already know that.’

In 2022 I pray that mine and your Bible reading and study will become alive to us, that it will be fresh, and we will return to the joy of our salvation. The Bible is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword; it is a book that corrects us and instructs us in righteousness. So get a few translations to help give you a fresh perspective, keep a journal with thoughts and questions, do a four-month plan, and read through the Bible three times a year. There are so many ways for us to engage with God through His Word; we just have to find them or get creative and come up with our own.

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