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Letter: Cross can’t be separated from Christmas

Recently a Raleigh homeowners association demanded removal of a cross from a Christmas display. The Bible, they said, separates Christ’s birth and death. They concluded a cross isn’t appropriate at Christmas. I disagree.

Biblical themes are interwoven throughout Scripture. The gospels connect Christ’s birth to his famous ancestors, Abraham, David and Adam. New Testament accounts of his infancy both quote Old Testament prophecies.

But is the crucifixion connected to the Nativity?

When the angel appeared to Joseph, he told him to name the baby Jesus “because he will save his people from their sins.” This salvation, the Bible teaches, comes from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, whose name means “deliverer.”

The angel further told Joseph that Jesus will be called Immanuel, meaning God with us. This was fulfilled at the moment of Christ’s death, when the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The curtain shrouded a sacred compartment considered the dwelling place of God. The renting of the veil symbolized God’s refusal to stay contained in a physical temple. He would indwell his people instead. (See Matthew 27, Hebrews 9, and I Corinthians 3, 6, and 12.)

Luke 2 contains another forewarning. When Mary presented her infant at the temple, she was told a sword will pierce her soul. Chilling, but clearly fulfilled as she later witnessed her son’s gruesome execution.

The cross threw its shadow across the Nativity at every turn. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city which supplied the sheep for temple sacrifices. The angels announced his birth to shepherds, those caring for sacrificial lambs. He was the Lamb of God, sacrificed for the sins of the world.

The Christmas manger finds its meaning in a bloody cross and an empty tomb. For Christians, they cannot be separated.

— Melodie Fleming

Salisbury

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