From the manger to the tomb
The most serious of believers suggest, at Yuletide, that we look beyond the manger and see the empty tomb in the garden of Joseph.
A bloodied naked cross and an empty tomb. The meat and potatoes of Christianity. Certainty by the very absence of evidence.
Irrespective of the pagan history of December 25, Christians celebrate the Virgin Birth; the Word made flesh on this day. It is the day, ingeminates Reformed theologian Amie van Wyk in South Africa’s unashamedly Christian daily Beeld, on which God’s propitiation commenced.
It is folly, waxes Van Wyk, to stop at the trough. Christmas makes sense only when conjoined to the cross; to the resurrection.
No resurrection; no point to Christmas. Point.
So Christmas brings us face to face with the resurrection of Christ.
The risen Christ! Not merely risen in the imagination of his acolytes; not only in the minds of the early Christians, but risen from death itself, from the tomb in Joseph’s garden. Without this physical – as physical as he was when nailed to the cross, mind – resurrection, there simply can be no Christmas.
And how do we know that Christ was risen?
Why, because the tomb is empty!
I found an old glass dome in an antique shop just the other day. It was empty. And I was filled with the assuaging certainty that Snow-white really was rebirthed by the royal kiss. She lived again. And there’s no doubt about it.
Christians are astoundingly dumb.