Where would I be without the cross?

Mary Ready

In the Christmas season, we sing the usual joyful hymns celebrating the birth of Jesus. My personal favorite is “O Come, O come, Emmanuel,” maybe because this messy, too often unhappy world makes me long for the Savior to hurry up and come take me away to an eternity where He will wipe away all tears (Revelation 21:4). But, maybe that’s the wrong thought to have in these Advent days leading up to Christmas, a time of joy.

So, I’m going to symbolically sing a new song, seemingly (but not really) unrelated to the Fa-la-la-la of the season. The lyrics from gospel singer Dottie Peoples aren’t exactly “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” but they speak to my heart this Christmas:

“Without the cross I would not know redeeming love

that sought my soul.

Without the blood where would I be, I would be lost, I would be lost,

yes I would. If it wasn't for Jesus,

I would be lost, I would be lost without the cross. Without the cross”

We all feel lost from time to time, but ETERNAL LOSTNESS is another matter. Had Jesus not made the ultimate sacrifice on that cruel Roman cross, my name wouldn’t be written in the Lamb's Book of Life when the time for judgment comes. Or as Luke says about it: “rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (10:20).

Since I’m cross referencing (no pun intended) with song lyrics, I think of the words of the late singer Prince who saw that without the cross, there would be “Black day, stormy night/No love in sight.” His song also reminds us that there may be ghettos to the left of us, but there are also flowers to the right and there will “be bread for all of us …” And since He’s coming back as He promised, that comfort alone keeps us in hope. The final line of lyrics reminds us not to “die without knowing the cross.”

Yes, I know, a lot of spiritual metaphor there. The ghettos are the blights on our lives; the flowers are the unexpected blessings He gives us in order to survive them. The bread? Jesus Himself tells us, “I am the Bread of life” (John 6:35). Without the cross, it would be all ghettos, weeds and no flowers. Hopelessness without joy.

In this season of gifts, lights, and festivity, the loveliest of Christmas trees is the holy cross of Jesus.

Mary Ready of Destin is a twice-retired English teacher and long-time area resident.