The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Joy | Week 4 | Day 27
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”
The Crib, Cross, and Crown
The crib, the cross, and the crown are fundamental to who Jesus is. Similarly, they’re fundamental to the Christian life as well.
Think of the crib as a place where the miracle of rebirth and regeneration takes place. Being born again is fundamental to our spiritual experience. But the crib isn’t enough. If Christ has been born in us, we must grow and mature as His disciples. Jesus said:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)
Taking up our cross means submitting our wills to God’s will. Jesus willingly accepted God’s will for our sake, and it cost Him His life. Those who invite Jesus Christ into their lives must identify with the will of God as surely as Christ identified Himself with the eternal purposes of the Father.
Our society has fallen ill to the disease of meaninglessness, a sickness that leads to hopelessness and superficiality. So many people have given in. “Life is falling apart,” they say. “I’m just not going to think about it.” Yet just below the surface, a fear about the future eats away at us. We can’t completely avoid the nagging issues of life.
Christians, however, need not remain in such a “Slough of Despond.” For believers there is not only a crib and a cross, but the sure promise of a crown. We live through all eternity with the risen, ascended King of kings and Lord of lords—who wears a glorious crown. And we too will receive crowns for faithful service to Him.
Now then, this produces a different breed of person in society. Instead of focusing on the material world—worrying about politics or the nasty people we must deal with; trying desperately to preserve our youth because we’re so frightened of aging; tightly gripping all that we own because that’s all we’ve got—we can live confidently and with hope because we live in light of the crown.
Those without a crib have yet to experience new life in Christ. Those without a cross have not given over their self-centered lives in exchange for the abundant God-centered life. And those without a crown have no depth or sense of hope. Crib, cross, and crown—are all three present in your life?
– Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Meet Him at the Manger, org. Used with permission.
Father, help me reflect on new life at the crib, the exchange at the cross and the hope of the crown. You know me better than I know myself and I am grateful you’ll meet me where I am today. I freely accept my identity as your child, and want to experience the joy of your promises.
Bring treats to your local urgent care center.
Before paying at the store, buy a gift card, and then turn around and hand it to the person behind you (or to the cashier!).
Pray for members of the US military who are away from home this Christmas.
Before opening gifts tonight or tomorrow (Christmas Day!), take time to read the story of God’s greatest gift of all— Jesus!—in Luke 1:26-2:21.