Author, John Heywood, first used this phrase at least in its written form in 1546. The paradox means that we can’t have it both ways. If you ‘eat’ your cake then you no longer ‘have’ it.

Isn’t this what Christmas is to the masses. {Setting aside the nagging questions about even celebrating Christmas that seems contrary to reformed theology — Yvonne wrote a great post on this discussion}

Let’s just go with the flow . . .

cross-and-mangerWe want to celebrate the birth of Christ. We want to usher Him in with twinkling lights, stirring hymns, generous gift giving, donations of money & time, nativity scenes, stepped up devotions and church attendance, even birthday cakes. A worthy, hyped-up Christian response to the world-changing event of God sending His Son to live among humanity.

But what happens on December 26th —  when baby Jesus is packed away with the lights, the stockings, the nutcrackers, and the wreaths?

This is the true test of a believer’s heart; because according to the church calendar we are marching towards the death and resurrection of that precious baby.

You see, we can’t have the manger and forget/neglect the cross. It’s not even that it’s hypocritical — it is just foolish and short-sighted.

Foolish to focus all our energies on the birth of Christ when His purpose was to die — die for us. The birth is the smallest part of the story, albeit, a miracle but a glorious mean to an eternal, costly end.

‘Christmas’ doesn’t require anything of us. There are increased opportunities for sure to study Scripture, worship, love my neighbor, and reflect Christ but it doesn’t REQUIRE anything of me.

However, the death and resurrection of Jesus REQUIRES everything of me. “You were bought with a price” (1Corinthians 7:21) I am no longer my own. I am not the lord of my life.  My wants and desires don’t matter. It is all about His wants and desires for my life and more times than not — we disagree.

“But put on the Lord” (Romans 13:14) This phrase summarizes the continual spiritual process in which those who have been saved by faith are transformed into His image and likeness. — John MacArthur study notes.

May the Lord bless your celebration of  His birth and remember how much we cost the baby in the manger.