11th Day of Advent
December 7, 2022
"For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave” (Luke 1.48).
Humility pours out of the Christmas story.
Mary was just a young, humble servant girl, whom God chose as the woman through whom His Son would be born. She was not impressive by outward standards, but God chose her for a special purpose. She submitted to God and obeyed Him.
Joseph, her betrothed husband, was a simple carpenter, a builder of wood and stone. He was not an impressive man by the world’s standards. The biblical narrative notes nothing of what he ever said – it only notes his obedience (Luke 17.10 - that was his standard, a standard which ought to be the measure of success for every man and every leader).
A Baby, an innocent baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes (not wrapped in a well-woven quilt laced with gold strands), born in a cave (not a beautiful nursery) with the animals, was the center of the story. Who would have ever thought that this Baby was and would be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the very center of God’s universe and His plan for the ages? C.S. Lewis; “Once in our world a stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” See Philippians 2.7.
Shepherds - God made His announcement of the birth of His Son through the angelic hosts to humble shepherds. Shepherds, strangers to Mary and Joseph, were the first to visit and worship Jesus in the humble surroundings of the cave-like stable. Shepherds were despised by the Gentile world.
Aging people – old people are often marginalized by society, but on the 8th day of Jesus’ dedication in the temple, God honored two aging saints by bringing them into the presence of His Anointed Son, the Messiah. Imagine this picture of humility – the oldest people on the temple mount blessing the infant sent by God for their salvation.
Magi - I suspect that their peers thought that they were crazy to leave their homes to travel the long way over the fertile crescent to follow that star. They humbled themselves to pursue the mission of worshiping and adoring something far greater than themselves.
This humility of the Christmas story has its character in the humility of God. It was God who humbled Himself and took on the flesh. It was God, who because of His love, sent His one and only Son into the world to reconcile men himself through His Son’s death. How God could become man is perhaps the most stunning illustration of humility imaginable. The truth of the Incarnation that leads to the cross and the resurrection is the story that changes our lives.
“He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2.7-8).
Humility is giving – giving your life away for others. Jesus said of Himself; “For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10.45).
To whom will you give your life away to others this Christmas season? Just as humility saturates the Christmas story, our lives should also be saturated with the humility of Jesus as well. How will we humble our hearts and our lives this Christmas season and give our lives (and resources) to others?
This, my friends, is the true meaning of Christmas. How much can we make humility and serving others central in our celebration of His birth? Whom can we serve this Christmas season?
Happy 11th day of Advent!