As I said in my earlier post, and as others have noted, I don't think it is theologically sound to separate the Crucifixion and the Resurrection as if they are separate things.
I highlighted this part because to me this is the center of the mistake of putting the Crucifixion at the same level as the Resurrection. Before anything, please do remember that the Church herself has put Easter above *all* other feasts, even the feasts of the Cross, even though the emphasys on the Cross is great enough so that it's commemorated more than once in the year.
I'm not talking about separating. I'm talking about two things: hierarchy and causality. The Nativity is important *because* it will lead to the Resurrection. The Cross is important because it's a step toward resurrection. The Cross indeed *must* pass, that is what the Second Coming is all about. That is what we pray for the deceased:
give rest to the souls of Thy departed servants in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away.
When we talk about the Holy Cross, what do we say of it? That it is "life-giving", "tree of life". Suffering is not an end in itself. In fact, any suffering that is not life-giving, that is barren, is not the kind of suffering that Christ suffered. It's not the kind of suffering we should endure.
What that shows is that the Cross is "The" Cross as long as it dependent of the Resurrection, which is *above* it.
Responding to Charles Matel question about the Liturgy, it goes through the sacrificial prologue, just like Holy Week does, but the high point is the Resurrection that is the transformation of bread and wine into the Flesh and Blood of Christ and the subsequent participation of the people in that becoming the Body of Christ ourselves.
I do understand how moving it is that God did not shun the Cross for us. But what is that "for us"? To make the resurrection possible. The Resurrection is the good news, not that God suffered. Did anyone see Mary or John rejoicing at the feet of the Cross? All the disciples and followers were sad up to the witness of the resurrection. If we are to be disciples like the Apostles, that's how we should feel as well. A person Whom we love, God Himself, was brutally beaten and crucified. It's not natural, it's not Christian to feel anything good about that. When I sing or pray anything about the "life-giving Cross", I understand that is a sing of praise of the victory of the Resurrection over human cruelty, of the power of God to transform our most hateful tendencies into an opportunity for Virtue to shine.
St. Paul himself, in praising the Cross, probably had in mind his constant analogy of the spiritual life to the life of athletes. "No pain, no gain", you've got to suffer a little to gain a lot. That is what ascesis is about, not about a salvific force of just any suffering itself. There are sufferings that are barren. Christ accepted the Cross, but He never accepted the attempted stonings. He never accepted any of the previous traps that were set for Him. Likewise with the Apostles. When warned of certain dangers, they would flee, even in a basket down the wall. They were willing to risk and being stoned for preaching in a town, but if they survived, they didn't stay there just to "suffer and be obedient", because obedience demands that they accept suffering when *innevitable*.
Just like we are called to accept death but suicide is the worst sin, we are called to accept suffering, but causing it ourselves or not stopping it when we can, or worse, thinking it's beautiful or good somehow, is simply not Christian. Again, suffering is innevitable - and that is what we must accept - but it is not necessary and will eventually be defeated and left behind, and that is the Good News. All the talk about "voluntary suffering" is that we must not be whining babies about the innevitable suffering that is related to what must be done. We've got to have some muscle pain if we want to get "gym" fit. We've got to face shame, and attacks if we are to live a Christian life. But that is not at all cultivating any kind of morbid admiration for seeing someone suffering, most of all, our beloved God. Remember that Christ-God, the one Who is All-Powerful and All-Knowing, *cried* when He was told Lazarus had died. He knew He was going to resurrect Lazarus in a couple of hours. He knew that it was a necessary step for the glorification of the Father and for the salvation of people. And yet He does not rejoice, He does not feel comfortable. He cries. That is the only humane reaction to *any* suffering. That is what we should strive to emulate.