The crib, the cross, and the crown are fundamental to who Jesus is. Similarly, they’re fundamental to the Christian life as well.

Think of the crib as a place where the miracle of rebirth and regeneration takes place. Being born again is fundamental to our spiritual experience. But the crib isn’t enough. If Christ has been born in us, we must grow and mature as His disciples. Jesus said:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

Taking up our cross means submitting our wills to God’s will. Jesus willingly accepted God’s will for our sake, and it cost Him His life. Those who invite Jesus Christ into their lives must identify with the will of God as surely as Christ identified Himself with the eternal purposes of the Father.

Our society has fallen ill to the disease of meaninglessness, a sickness that leads to hopelessness and superficiality. So many people have given in. “Life is falling apart,” they say. “I’m just not going to think about it.” Yet just below the surface, a fear about the future eats away at us. We can’t completely avoid the nagging issues of life.

Christians, however, need not remain in such a “Slough of Despond.” For believers there is not only a crib and a cross, but the sure promise of a crown. We live through all eternity with the risen, ascended King of kings and Lord of lords—who wears a glorious crown. And we too will receive crowns for faithful service to Him.

Now then, this produces a different breed of person in society. Instead of focusing on the material world—worrying about politics or the nasty people we must deal with; trying desperately to preserve our youth because we’re so frightened of aging; tightly gripping all that we own because that’s all we’ve got—we can live confidently and with hope because we live in light of the crown.

Those without a crib have yet to experience new life in Christ. Those without a cross have not given over their self-centered lives in exchange for the abundant God-centered life. And those without a crown have no depth or sense of hope. Crib, cross, and crown—are all three present in your life?