Christmas…It’s About the Cross

By Sandy Kirby Quandt

I’m not fond of secrets.

Christmastime makes it really difficult for me to keep secrets. When I was a child, the suspense of not knowing what was in the packages with my name on them, was torturous. Because of that torture, more times than not, I surreptitiously lifted the cellophane tape off one end of my brightly colored presents, and peeked inside.

After years of practice, I became an expert at unwrapping the package without damaging the paper, sneaking a peek, replacing the tape, and acting surprised on Christmas morning.

When I clandestinely unwrapped my Christmas presents, if there was a toy inside, whoopee! If there was a necessary sweater, or more knee socks, well…

As an adult, I have the same problem. Only in reverse. I get so excited about what I’ve bought Pilot. I can’t wait for him to open it. To help him figure out the gift, I give him hints. Sometimes, he won’t play along.

 

When I think about it, I wonder if God felt the same excitement and anticipation I feel at Christmas when he prepared to send his gift of love to our broken world. All through the Bible God gives us hints as to what was to come. Sometimes we ignore his clues and won’t play along, but that doesn’t take away the gift.

God’s prophets spoke of a Messiah. Shepherd. Cornerstone. One from the house of Jesse. One from the line of David whose kingdom would never end. A savior. Immanuel. God with us. Those words hold joy and excitement.

Unlike the words in Isaiah 53:5. Words like pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds. That’s when I understand the joyful gift of a baby in the manger, became the necessary gift of a sacrifice for our salvation.

And I cry.

Next to the manger scene I set up each December, hangs a cross, and a crown of thorns. Lest I get caught up in the presents, the baking, the decorations, and the carols, I need a reminder in front of me. Christmas is about much more than a baby, gifts, and family. Christmas is about the cross. It’s about the sacrifice, the suffering, and the Savior who died and rose again so we might live.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get excited about the gifts under the tree. But it’s the gift that hung on a tree, that really matters.

What do you believe?

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (GNT)

I wish you well,

Sandy

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One of my devotions will be posted on Christian Devotions December 30, 2013. Please stop by and check out the site.

Tell a Veteran Thanks

My dad (the one w/ the puppy)
proudly served in the Navy during
WWII

Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who are serving, and who have served in our military. Thank you very much for your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your families.

I’ve mentioned before that my father served in the US Navy, and was on board a ship at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when it was bombed on December 7, 1941.

My dad didn’t talk much about his experiences in the war. Although I wish he had, I understand why he didn’t.

I asked my niece’s son who served in Afghanistan, if he ever talked about his war experiences. No. Only with those who’d been there. I get it. How can anyone who hasn’t been there truly understand what it was like for you to go through what you went through?

There were a few things my dad did tell me.

He told me how difficult it was to watch the buddy he fought next to get killed, while Dad was physically, unscathed.

He told me how he walked into a restaurant, and someone he knew was shocked. They’d heard Dad’s ship was destroyed. It was, but Dad had been tendered to another ship, to take over for their deceased gunner, before Dad’s ship was hit.

My father told me how much it hurt to come back to the States, the country he’d proudly fought and sacrificed for, to see a sign in front of a business that said, Sailors and dogs keep off the grass.

He put his life on the line for this?Keep off the grassRight now, I’m researching the Tuskegee Airmen, and their contributions to winning the Double Victory. These men and women, like Dr. Bickham and Mr. Harold Alston, Sr. who have helped me with my research, made sacrifices to defeat Hitler overseas and Jim Crow at home.

They returned to the States to face much worse than signs telling them to keep off the grass. (Please join me in praying for Mr. Alston’s family, at his passing this week.)

And here’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus left his throne in glory to come to this earth as a man to fight for us. To win the victory over sin for us. He endured all things we as humans endure to pay the price for our freedom from Satan’s claws of death.

Jesus knew the joys. The pains. The prejudices. The humiliation. The betrayal. The love. The loss.

pathwayWhile I can sympathize and get upset about the unfair treatment others face, unless I’ve walked a mile in their moccasins, I cannot truly comprehend the raw emotions and pain events in their lives cause.

But Jesus can.

He won the victory. He is the conqueror. His death and resurrection bought our freedom. Praise God.

It’s obvious, of course, that he (Jesus) didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. Hebrew 2:16-18 (MSG)

 

scarvesKnow a veteran? Tell them thanks. Even better, join Sissy and me, as we create knitted Knit Your Bit Scarvesand crocheted scarves to donate to VA Centers across the US. Here is a link for info on the National WWII Museum’s Knit Your Bit campaign.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pierced For Our Transgressions

This past Sunday, Palm Sunday, we celebrated Jesus Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Crowds lined the road. They shouted out their hosannas and praises, as Jesus passed by. Yet, within five short days, those praises turned to condemnation.

Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!

Although Pilate could find no wrong in Jesus, he capitulated to the crowd’s demands. Pilate handed Christ over to be murdered. After that, Pilate washed his hands of Christ’s innocent blood.

Jesus was the sacrificial Lamb of God. He took the punishment mankind’s sins deserved, upon himself. His sacrifice allows us entrance into the very presence of God. By Jesus Christ’s suffering and death, our sins were forgiven.

When we were unable to help ourselves, at the right time, Christ died for us, although we were living against God. Very few people will die to save the life of someone else. Although perhaps for a good person someone might possibly die. But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. So through Christ we will surely be saved from God’s anger, because we have been made right with God by the blood of Christ’s death. While we were God’s enemies, he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Surely, now that we are his friends, he will save us through his Son’s life. And not only that, but now we are also very happy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we are now God’s friends again. Romans 5:6-11 New Century Version

A trauma surgeon medically describes the effect crucifixion would have on the human body, in this video by Central Christian Church, in Wichita, KS.

He who knew no sin, took on the sins of the world, that by His wounds, we can be healed. Perfect Love.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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