‘Tis the Season for…Humility

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I had just spent about an hour of my time making dinner for my three siblings, and I saw that the dishwasher needed to be emptied.  Huffing a little bit, since it seems like my work would never end, I began to empty the dishwasher, tempted to use my “chef” status as an excuse to make my siblings do it instead.  In this attitude of selfish, unhappy servitude, I was nudged by the Holy Spirit.  I took a deep breath as He brought to mind a sermon I recently heard about the humility of Christ at Christmas.

The Almighty God of the Universe, who according to Revelation 4, has “the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around [His] throne a rainbow that [has ]  the appearance of an emerald,” who commands the sea and the dry land, who rules from everlasting to everlasting, gave up everything for us.  I literally mean everything.  Phillipians 2 tells us that  Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.”  Jesus became a child born in the dirtiest of conditions, a stable, because his family could not find room in Bethlehem.  No one came to celebrate the birth of the King of kings, the only onlookers were the animals.  Then, the Lord sent angels to announce Christ’s coming….to a field full of shepherds.  They could have been sent to Rome itself, or to the king of Judea to announce the birth of Jesus and make many fall in awe, but God sent the angels to the shepherds.  Then, those shepherds came to Mary and Joseph and worshipped Jesus.  He deserved so much more, but he chose humble himself.

In light of what Jesus did by even coming to earth, and not only that but being born in a low class in a dirty stable, how could I justify my pride?  I had no more reason to be proud of my little bit of service than a two-year old does for picking a twig up off the ground.  The Christmas story of humility goes farther than Jesus’ birth, Phillipians 2 continues in verse 8, “and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  We in the 21st century United States of America cannot understand the shame of the cross.  It was an execution and public mocking rolled into one, and it lasted for hours, usually a whole day.  Jesus did not deserve to die that way, he did not deserve to die at all, yet he chose the cross for us.  “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).  I am a sinner, we all are, and deserving of death, but Christ took our sin upon himself so that we could be made right with God.  That is amazing.  It blows me away.

When I thought about all of that, I realized that any service I could do cannot compare to Christ’s humility, and it made me thankful.  Christmas time is a time, for me at least, to reflect on Christ’s humility, and how undeserving I am, and how thankful that should make me.  I do not deserve the gifts I get or the special moments I have any more than I deserved for the King of the universe to die in my place, unrecognized and unknown.

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Clearing the Christmas Stage

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Right now much of the world is celebrating advent, especially in the United States, even if the people don’t know it. Advent, coming from the Latin word meaning “to come to,” is a season of waiting. Specifically, waiting for the coming of Christ. It is the season leading up to Christmas, a time of preparation.

As I write this, I am taking a break from doing my homework, part of my crazy, busy life. I have not posted a blog in a while, especially since I started my first job. This, on top of all my other activities and school, makes my life really busy. Isn’t everyone super busy during this time?

My new favorite song is “Clear the Stage,” by Jimmy Needham. The first line of the song is, “Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze if that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols.” This line references the typical Sunday setup for “worship.” All the extra stuff is great, but it’s worthless, even an idol, if it distracts from its true purpose, to usher people into worship. The same could be said of the business in preparation for Christmas.

Christmas is the season of giving, hence all the rush for the endless list of Christmas presents and groceries for Christmas meals. What most of us forget, however, is how Christmas became the season of giving. It started with God, who gave his only son to ransom men from death. He did not come as he should have, a king demanding worship, but as a tiny baby, born to a poor Jewish girl of Nazareth. More than that, he was born in a stable, among the animals, and his first visitors were shepherds, the lowliest of all working men.

With all our shopping lists, planning, and parties, do we take time to stop and prepare our hearts for the savior? Jesus came two thousand years ago, yes, but during advent, Christians and everyone else should be preparing themselves for his second coming, when he will come as a triumphant king.

Can we each take a moment and reflect on God’s many gifts?  Can we remember that night when the most high God came into the world in the form of a helpless infant?  True, December 25 is not Jesus’ actual birthday, but it is the date on which we choose to celebrate it.

Can we replace our Martha attitude of crazy business in preparation for a holiday with a Mary Magdalene- like spirit which is content to sit for a while at the feet of our Savior, listening to His word?

I believe that the best thing I can do this Christmas season is to take some time to spend in quiet reflection over my Bible, journal, even this blog, and think about what God did.  I hope you take some time this season to clear what can become idols of business and stress out of your heart and replace them with the peace of the Savior, Jesus Christ as we wait to celebrate His coming.

Merry Christmas!