I've been thinking about how the incarnation means nothing without the crucifixion. In fact the reason why God came down is so that he would be lifted up on a tree at Calvary. And if we only tell the beginning of the story we have no story at all — at least no gospel story. C.J. Mahaney puts it this way:
The purpose of the manger was realized in the horrors of the cross. The purpose of his birth was his death. Or to put it more personally: Christmas is necessary because I am a sinner.
And so, in order for us to see Christmas for what Christmas really is, we must first see how disturbing the Christmas message really is.
Mahaney tells of an article written some years ago in WORLD Magazine by William H. Smith with the title, “Christmas is disturbing: Any real understanding of the Christmas messages will disturb anyone” (Dec. 26, 1992).
Smith ends his column with these words which I invite you to ponder:
Only those who have been profoundly disturbed to the point of deep repentance are able to receive the tidings of comfort, peace, and joy that Christmas proclaims.
And so my prayer for you and me is that we would be filled with peace and joy this Christmas–because we have been disturbed by the God who was born in a manger so he could die on a cross for our sins.