We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

It wasn’t too many weeks ago that we knelt attentively, lovingly, joyfully in front of an empty manger awaiting the moment that the greatest treasure in all of creation; the Son of the

Most High God, our Lord, Jesus Christ would be laid before our eyes to behold and gaze upon. A manger that would cradle our Infant King’s ten tiny little fingers that would splay when a startling noise occurred, a tummy that would rise and fall with deep breaths taken and toes that would curl when we irresistibly tickled His feet. And our attention was held captive with this tiny Babe whose infinite love stole our hearts immediately. Perhaps, as we kept watch so closely, with our hands resting on the side of the manger, we incurred a few splinters from the rough wood. But we were quick to overlook this little pain as joy resided in our heart. Attentive to this Infant’s every need, we moved the manger to the warmer place in the cave and then to the more quiet place and then perhaps picked it up once again so He could rest near His blessed Mother. More splinters, but we bore them easily because of Love.

As Jesus grew, he watched his father, Joseph, a carpenter by trade, wield various tools to form rough wood into tables, doors, carts and anything else requested. Just like any young boy in love with his father, Jesus would have been in the midst of these projects, helping Joseph- perhaps handing His dad a hammer, or holding a nail in place or even balancing a long 2×4 piece of wood over His shoulder,  feeling the edge of it resting against His neck. The grain and smell of the particular types of wood became familiar to Him and He could easily recognize which wood was best suited for the project at hand. Soon, our Lord would find Himself initiating and completing His own projects as His skills, under Joseph’s direction, were perfected through His adulthood.

Then, the day was upon Him. Scourged, crowned with thorns and covered with only a tunic -the great wood of the Cross was laid on His shoulder. The smell, the grain, the weight of the wood He knew well. It had been present in His life since the day He was born. Traces of the wood of his cross were woven throughout His entire life. He knew it well and He embraced it. Submitted in love to His Heavenly Father’s will, He was now in the midst of the world’s redemption. All the splinters boring into His neck and shoulders were received in joy. His attention was held captive on you and me as He modeled for us the lightness of His yoke, if we bear it with Him. May we fix our gaze, once again, on He who carries His Cross to Calvary.

Oh Lord, how much sweeter and easier it is to carry my Cross when I know it is the same precious wood of the cradle. I once, all too gladly, desired to carry your cradle for however long to wherever you needed when you were my precious Infant King. I bore those splinters with joy for love of you. Now, when you present the wood of the Cross, I shudder and shrink back from accepting this wood, which, too, is your gift. Help me to lovingly embrace this Cross as I did so readily your cradle knowing you desire my joy and freedom.

By Grace.

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