Symbolism of the Cross
This " Cross of The Nativity:Prince of Peace" is an inspiring,
commissioned work of art I had created especially for this celebration.
Noted African-American artist, Daniel Johnson, from Chicago, painted
his vision of the epiphany. The painting depicts the journey of the
Three Kings to Bethleham and their "divine manifestation"
upon first seeing the Christ Child.
Together as we stand before the cross, one of the first things we
might notice is the simplicity of its representation in art of God's
humility. The cross was built out of pine wood from the evergreen tree
which is also a symbol of our Christmas season. Pine wood is very durable,
which is synonymous with the word "lasting". Combined
together, they form EVER-LASTING, which is God's love for all of us.
As earlier noted, the cross is also the symbol of the Epiphany for
Eastern Orthodox churches, as mentioned in the Cross of the Epiphany
As we gaze at the center of the cross, we see three bolts as part
of the painting holding the cross together. The positioning of the the
bolts symbolize the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the artwork.
At first glance, one can also notice the striking blue color that
represents the color the sky where the Three Kings saw the Star of Bethlehem.
In addition, the blue color represents the waters of the Jordan River
where Christ was baptised.
Prince of Peace wording on cross from Isaiah 9-6:
"For unto us a child is born
Unto us a Son is Given
And the government shall
Upon His shoulder
And His name shall be called
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father,
THE PRINCE OF PEACE."
Isaiah 9-6 maybe the most
familiar, Old Testament prophecy about the birth of Christ. Handel included
these words and one of the great choruses of his Messiah oratorio. Chances
are you either sing it or hear it several times every Christmas season.
Unfortunately, we seem to
pull this passage out of the box during the holidays. It's like one
of the ornaments we use to decorate our houses, but have you ever thought
about the rich truth this single verse teaches us concerning the King
Isaiah wrote this prophecy
at least a hundred years before Israel was taken into Babylonian capitivity-nearly
600 years before the birth of the Savior! Looking at a litany of failed
monarchs, and sitting in the rubble of Israel's monarchy, Isaiah looked
across the centuries to a time when God would rule on Earth through
This scripture has been chosen
for the Cross of The Nativity because the The Prince of Peace prophecy
was realized when Christ was born.
Star of Bethlehem
The star on top of The Cross
of The Nativity in Christian tradition is know as the Star of Bethlehem,
or also The Christmas Star. The star revealed to the Three Kings, and
led them on a vision quest to Bethlehem and to the house where they
found Mary and Baby Jesus. Many Christians see the star as a miraculous
sign to mark the birth of Christ or Messiah.
Some theologians claim the
star fulfilled a prophecy known as the Star Prophecy from Isaiah.
The star is also the symbol
to all Christians that Christ is indeed "The light of the world.
The Three Kings
Now we come to the Three
Kings, who are regular figures in the nativity celebration and an important
part of the Christian tradition. Traditionally, nativity scenes depict
"Three Kings" visiting the infant Jesus on the night of his
birth, in a manager accompanied by a shepard and angels, they assume
symbolic stature. The Biblical account simply presents them visiting
later following the star of Bethlehem and confirming the Son of God.
As in the NRSV, Matthew 2:1-12
"In the time of King
Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea, wise men from the East
came to Jerusalem asking , "Where is the child who has been born
King of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come
to pay him homage". When King Herod heard this, he was frightened
and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests
and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was
born. They told him, "In Bethelehem of Judea; for so it has been
written by the prophet: 'And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are
by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come
a ruler who is to shepard my people Israel'.
Then, Herod secretly called
for the wise men and learned from them the exact time the star had appeared.
Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying "Go and search diligently
for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I
also go and pay him homage". When they had heard the king, they
set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star they had seen at its
rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star had
stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they
had an epiphany-a divine manifestation- when they saw the child with
Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening
their treasure chest, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense,
Footsteps in the Sand
The painted footsteps on
The Cross of The Nativity is symbolic of the poem "Footsteps in
the Sand" by Mary Stevenson, which lets us know, even today, that
God is always with us.
One night I had a dream..
I dreamed I was walking alone
the beach with the Lord, and Across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged
to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed
before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that
many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened
and saddest times of my life. This really bothered me, and I questioned
the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you would walk with me all the way". But I have noticed that
during the troublesome times in my life, There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times that I need you the most you should
The Lord replied, "My
precious, precious child. I love you and would never, never leave you
during your time of trials and suffering.
When you saw only one set
of footprints, it was that I carried you".
In closing, I would like
to share with you my story.
As a Christian activist,
several years ago I sued my former home town of Bay Harbor Islands,
Florida in the federal courts for not allowing me to display my nativity
scene next to the town's menorah on Broad Causeway. After three years
of legal battles in the courts, I won. My town was found to have been
in violation of seven of my constitutional rights. Bill O'Reilly
of Fox News called it "A Big Win for Baby Jesus" when he hosted
me on his program. To date, my lawsuit against the town's exclusion
of my nativity display is noted as one of the largest in history, costing
the taxpayers $262, 000 to fight against me in the courts. As part of
my Consent Judgement with the town, I even demanded that my mayor step
out of office for his remarks that, "hoilday decorations were trivial
"and denying me my constitutional rights of freedom of speech and
religion. This January 6th, my nativity still stands celebrating
the Christmas season and through Three Kings Day in Bay Harbor Islands,
Standing-Up for Jesus takes
a lot of faith that HE is calling you for whatever
mission is put in your path. During my darkest hour of my battle, God
spoke to me and gave me courage to continue. Now, I pass this Prayer
for the Christian Soldier unto you.
Prayer of the Christian Soldier
Your strength will come from
Whose arms are holding you
Be Strong, Be Brave and do
God's presence and light
will always be there
The road ahead will not be
So take with you the Book
Rejoice in knowing the difference
And all in the name of Jesus'
Pray for those around you
How the Power of God is guiding
You're never alone, He will
show you the way
Stand up for Jesus! Stand
And when the weary battle
is over and won
God will smile on you, and
he'll say, "Well done"
So hurry Christian Soldiers
and do not delay
Stand up for Jesus. Stand
God inspired in my darkest
-Sandra Lee Snowden