The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! He is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’ ~ see John 1:29,30
Jesus Christ was born under the shadow of the Cross. He is the Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. One can no more separate the cruelty of the Cross from the quaint beauty of the manger than you can separate his deity and humanity.
Without the Cross, the manger is an aberration, a novelty, a nice trick of God’s creative ability.
Without the manger, the Cross is a tragedy, an example of human cruelty and the unwillingness of mankind to accept change or to embrace anything that threatens him.
The manger and the Cross together, however, represent the Virgin Birth, the Victorious Life, and the Vicarious Death of Jesus Christ. He is become Emmanuel, God with us. And because He is, we can be with God…now and forever.