Anyone who knows me knows I love jewelry. The more sparkle, the better. My collection is rather embarrassing. Friends and family gave jewelry to me as Christmas and birthday gifts, and I've hosted several at-home jewelry parties over the years that afforded me the opportunity to pick a bunch of free pieces as well. I get this fascination from my mom; as a young adult I spent a lot of together time with her as we shopped the jewelry counter.
But I'm not here to talk about my obsession (even though by now many of you may think I need a support group). Instead, I'd like to focus on a specific kind of jewelry--the crucifix worn as a necklace, earrings, or other piece. The origins of wearing a crucifix necklace date back to Second Century A.D. when Christians felt more free to express their beliefs in visible, tangible ways. Many necklaces were simple wooden crosses with leather straps tied behind the neck. Fancier versions with jewels and metal were fashioned for clergy to wear.
Whether they're made with gold, silver, wood, crystals, fancy curves, or plain, there are plenty of designs to choose from these days. But aside from how they're designed, I sometimes wonder why people wear them.
I watched a program a few months ago that featured a young woman who'd been arrested about a dozen times in her young life, resulting from her dependence on prescription drugs. She'd gained notoriety, however, because she smiled in each of her mugshots. Indeed, her smile was bright and engaging. She wore a pretty blue blouse and a gold cross necklace for the interview.
She's been sober since the beginning of 2022. When asked what finally convinced her to turn her life around, I waited for her to say that she found Jesus and He guided her away from all that. But this was her reply: "When I was really bad on drugs, I started to look in the mirror and I just didn't look like the same girl. So really what got me sober was how I was looking. I was looking terrible. So that's what really started my sobriety . . . I just really wanted to look like the girl I used to."
I shouldn't judge. Perhaps Jesus really did rescue her and the cross around her neck was meant to reflect her devotion to Him. I just wished she would have said so.
The secular world wears crosses for a variety of reasons. Some subcultures use silver crosses with black paint and/or black ribbons as an expression of their belief in darker, more sinister powers invisible to the human eye. Others say they wear crosses simply as a symbol of peace and understanding. Some just wear it as fashion, saying the cross gives a subtle, elegant addition to their "look."
For Christians the cross is worn as a statement of their faith, of their devotion to Jesus who died on a rough wooden cross for their sins. The cross necklace or pendant is also a way for Christians to remember who they belong to when the world tells them they're on their own.
How about you? Do you wear a cross necklace, earrings, or bracelet as a statement of faith? Or is it just . . . jewelry?
Until next time,