Summary: This is our Christmas Eve service looking at the borrowed Cradle and Borrowed grave
Transitions, in all of our lives there are transitions. Times when our lives change and the lives of those around us change. You know what I’m talking about because there are events that you are thinking about even as I speak. Births, deaths, graduations, weddings, baptisms.
Transitions, times when our lives change. And we have this innate desire to make those events special, to do the very best that we can. That’s why newborns often come home dressed in brand new finery to a newly decorated nursery filled with all kinds of “Stuff” they can’t really appreciate. If we were simply doing it for them it would be a waste because they don’t know and they don’t care.
At the other end of the spectrum is death, and for some reason we often feel that we need to send off the dearly departed in style, spending money we really can’t afford to spend to impress who? Obviously not the dearly departed, they are beyond impressing, perhaps it’s to let people know how much we loved our father, mother, husband, wife or child although I would think that if our love was that important that it would be testified to in our lives.
Most of you have seen my smart car, so do you really think I’d be impressed to be buried in a $10,000.00 coffin? My desire is to be cremated and have my ashes spread in the cove on Grand Manan where I played growing up. We used to have four litre ice cream container set aside for my urn, with “Denn’s Ashe’s” written on it in magic marker but then it got used for dog food.
Regardless we try to do the transitions up right.
Over the past couple of weeks we have been preparing to recognize a transition that affected the entire world. The birth of a child, and not just any child, a child who was the Son of God, a child who was God himself.
And in three months or so we will mark another transition, Easter. And we will be pausing to reflect on the death of the one whose birth we are celebrating tonight.
And it’s in ironic that both the birth and death of the most important person to ever walk this earth were not marked by splendour but by simplicity.
He began his earthy life in a borrowed cradle and finished it, thirty three years later, in a borrowed grave.
As we look at Reflections of Christmas we see the reflection of the grave of Jesus in the cradle of Jesus and we wonder: “How far could from a borrowed cradle to a borrowed grave?
If you were to ask a tour guide the answer might surprise you
because “Geographically, it’s closer than you might think. If we could pull down a map and take a look we would discover that you only have to walk down the road about a kilometre and a half, and then take a left and it would only be eight kilometres to the city gates of Jerusalem.”
Think about it, it is just a two-hour walk from the sleepy little town of Bethlehem where Christ was born, to the bustling streets of Jerusalem where Christ was crucified.
You know it’s not far at all and there’s a lot of history on this road. Why it was in Bethlehem that Rachel was buried, and it was to Bethlehem that Naomi and Ruth came, and Bethlehem was where Ruth married Boaze.
King David was born and raised in Bethlehem and the prophet Micah wrote in Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.
It was to this little town that the carpenter Joseph came from Nazareth with his young, pregnant wife to be counted in the census ordered by the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus. No it’s not very far at all from Bethlehem to Calvary, geographically speaking.
And Historically there wasn’t a lot of time between the cradle and the grave. Compared to the Millenniums that have come and gone since God spoke the world into being, thirty-three years is a relatively short period of time. It really isn’t that far from the starlit eastern sky of Bethlehem to the darkened midday sky of Jerusalem. There is only a short lifetime between singing angels and tears of joy, to cursing soldiers and tears of grief.
Just a few short years from swaddling clothes to a crown of thorns, from dimples and stubby fingers to blood stained cheeks and nail pierced hands. And yet as close as it might be, it is a sad fact of life that not many have made that thirty-three year journey from the cradle in Bethlehem to the grave at Calvary.