On Sunday, December 16, 1973, Billy Graham delivered a message at The White House. He explained how the Christmas message is “relevant, revolutionary and reassuring in a world of confusion and crisis.” He summed Christmas up in three simple words – a cradle, a cross, and a crown.
“First the cradle,” said Graham. “On that first Christmas night, the Bible tells of the angel who said to the fearful shepherds, ‘Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.’ … Incredible and unbelievable as it may appear to some modern minds, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ was a visitor from outer-space – He was God incarnate! That virgin-born baby was God in human form. He humbled Himself… What a difference the baby born in Bethlehem’s manger two thousand years ago has made in our world. The educational systems He has inspired, the social reforms that His teachings have instituted, and the transformation of families and lives and nations.
Secondly, there is the cross. Christmas, to have meaning, cannot be separated from the cross. The angel said at the birth of Jesus, ‘He shall save His people from their sins.’ … The central message of Christmas is that Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection can transform both individuals and society… The cross and the resurrection stand as man’s only hope…
Thirdly, the crown. There is more to Christmas than the cradle and the cross… At the cradle He was in the stall of an animal. At the cross He wore a crown of thorns. But when He comes again it will be as the Commander-in-Chief of the armies in Heaven. He will take control of this war-weary world and bring the permanent peace we strive for and long for. A new world will be formed. A new social order will emerge…
This is God’s gift of Christmas. The cradle – His Son. The cross – His life. The crown – His coming Kingdom.
But… a gift, to be complete, must be received!”
~ Courtesy of the Billy Graham Library