The Humility Of Christmas
In this Christmas season I am once again marveling at the miraculous birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Have you ever considered the incredible humility of Jesus?
The Father's plan of delivering His only Son to earth never ceases to amaze me. What an awesome event! A child created by God placed in the womb of a young virgin. How could something so impossible - be possible?
Jesus deserved to be born in the finest palace of the day. Instead, His official welcoming committee was an assortment of barn animals.
Since earthly kings have such a flair for grand entrances, who would think the King of the Universe would consent to such a humble beginning? But He did.
The humility of Jesus Christ marked His life and ministry from His very first day on earth.
What a day it was!
It was a day that forever changed the course of human history.
Wouldn't you have loved to have been one of the shepherds on that starry night? Can you imagine seeing an angel suddenly appear in the night sky to proclaim, "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord: And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger."
And since one angel wasn't enough to declare the birth of the Savior of all mankind, a multitude of angelic beings lit up the desolate sky to declare their praises to God.
When the angels left, the shepherds didn't say, "Hey, let's go downtown to see if this really happened." To the contrary!
They said, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." Then they rushed into town to eagerly seek their Messiah.
The key to identifying Him wasn't that He was wrapped in swaddling clothes - that was customary. The sign was His mark of humility. Instead of being in a home as newborns normally are, the shepherds found Jesus in a barn just as the angels said.
God chose simple nomads - pious men with no wealth or social status - to be among the first to behold His Son. What incredible, unspeakable joy they must have felt in that holy moment as they gazed into their Savior's face.
Once they returned to their flock, the shepherds began telling everyone, everywhere they went, all they'd seen and heard. They "...made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child."
They were the world's first evangelists and their primary message wasn't about what it was like to see myriads of angels create a heavenly light show in the sky. They talked about what the angels said about Jesus - that the Savior of all mankind had arrived.
Can you imagine them telling their Jewish friends that the magnificent Messiah they'd been waiting for had come - but not boldly on a white horse with heavenly pageantry. Instead He was a vulnerable baby, born to a virgin teenager!
As a poet once said:
They were looking for a king
To bring salvation nigh
He came a little infant thing
That made a woman cry
But these itinerant preachers shared the Good News without shrinking back.
They didn't care if they looked foolish. They were already reflecting the image of their Savior.
Of course not everyone believed. The elite were probably offended that some rugged shepherds (an occupation considered somewhat shady in those days) thought they could tell them anything. It took humility to believe a Child could be sent from heaven to save us from our sins and reconcile us to God.
It took humility then. It takes humility now.
It takes willing messengers, too.
This Christmas my prayer is that Jesus Christ will be born in our hearts in a fresh and powerful way - and that our passion for Him will overflow our own life and ignite the hearts of those around us.
May we, like those early shepherds, have the courage to boldly proclaim what we know is true. We must not be ashamed to crown Jesus King of Kings and Lord of Lords for all the world to see. May we not wilt in the face of ever-increasing mockery - even by the most elite. And may we understand that we, like those first shepherds, are God's chosen messengers to the earth today.
The Christmas season is a natural time for us to reach out to others. As unbelievers try to enter into the "spirit of Christmas," they adopt greater attitudes of giving, openness, and goodwill. This gives us opportunities to share our faith that aren't normally there.
In fact, during this season many people become acutely aware of their lack of connectedness to family and friends - and their feelings of loneliness or depression intensify. Sadly, more people commit suicide around Christmas than at any other time of the year.
Like the shepherds, you have seen Jesus. You have witnessed His birth in your heart. This is what your family, friends, and fellow workers need to hear.
A Greater Gift
This is why Jesus came. Use this occasion to share Christ with someone who doesn't know Him. Make a phone call, write a letter, take someone to lunch. Tell them the "spirit of Christmas" doesn't have to disappear on December 26th, but can be carried in their heart all year long. Introduce them to the Prince of Peace, who can give them a peace on earth that cannot be taken away.
Jesus, in an effort to reach those who needed to hear, was the perfect example of humility in every area. May we too, in humility, forget ourselves enough to be His messengers to those who need Him.
What greater Christmas gift could there be?
*Article reprinted from The Last Days Magazine, Vol. 15.4, 1992.
*Illustration used by permission, © Outreach Publications Inc., All rights Reserved.
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