THE HUMILITY OF GOD
“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself, and became obedience unto death, even the death of the cross”
What is Christmas today? Christmas trees, decorations, lights, tinsel, parties, Santa Claus, and an over abundance of food. Total antipathy to the very first Christmas!
The first Christmas was celebrated in poverty. In fact, it was more than poverty. It was degradation. Today, if a couple were so poor that they had to have their baby in a dirty animal stable, the Social Services would take their baby away from them. But, 2000 years down the line, it seems that the humility of Christmas has been forgotten.
I think it would be good to remind ourselves of the true reality of Christmas, don’t you?
1. The humility of Mary
Mary was a humble maiden with a humble lineage. She was not a royal princess. She was not a High Priest's daughter. She was not rich. Mary herself confesses in her song, "He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.... He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree” (Luke 1:48-49). But God chose this unknown virgin to bring forth His precious Son. He chose her because she was a willing vessel. Often those who have everything materially are not willing vessels.
God does not look for riches and material possessions. He looks for women with obedient hearts -- mothers who welcome to their hearts the children God sends them. He looks for those who have the same spirit Mary had when she said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word" (Luke 1:38). She was totally surrendered to the will of God. In the face of poverty, ridicule, rejection, and estrangement, she embraced this child who would be the Savior of the world.
I will never forget going to the famous art gallery in London and seeing a painting of Mary with the caption: “Be it unto me according to thy word.” It was such an anointed picture. The artist captured the look of total submission and abandonment to the will of God upon her face. I looked and looked at it for hours.
2. The humility of Joseph
Joseph was a humble carpenter from a humble village. Do you remember that Nathanael said of Jesus: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). Jesus was spurned by his fellow residents of Nazareth who asked: “Is not this the carpenter's son?" (Matthew 13:55).
3. The humility of His birthplace
Jesus was born in a stable, most probably a cave, with the dirt, smells, and messes of the animals all around. He was then laid in a stone feeding trough, fit only for the animals. Jesus was born to be King, but God didn't provide a palace for His Son in which to be born. He didn't provide a doctor, nurses, and hospital. There was no cradle beautifully draped with lace and frills. Only straw! Was there even that? No Christmas card paints the true reality of the scene.
If this was the beginning of the Son of God, why do we, the sons and daughters of God, expect that we should have all the niceties of life? Of course, if God blesses us with them, we receive them with joy, but should we expect them? Everything surrounding the birth of Jesus was humble.
It is interesting that in the body of Christ we have the "Faith movement" and the "Discipleship movement" and so on. But has anyone ever heard of the "Humility movement"? We don't take to this aspect so well, do we? And yet this is how God planned for His beloved Son to be born. And this is how he lived all through His life. Shouldn't humility also be the hallmark of our Christian experience?
I think that God revealed His heart in the place He chose for His son to be born—the lowliest and humblest place possible. God loves the poor. He promises to raise up the poor. He watches over them. Even in the birth of His son, He related to the poorest of the poor.
It is also amazing to think that God chose to bring forth His beloved Son through the process of birth. He could have sent him down from Heaven on a chariot of fire! He could have sent a legion of angels to escort Him from the majesty of heaven. But no! He chose for His Son to be conceived and nurtured in a womb, to be born of a woman, the way God planned for all human life to come into this world.
Surely this raises birth to a high estate. What a privilege to give birth and give life to children, the very same way that Jesus came into the world? How blessed we are as women.
4. The humility of Jesus' dedication
After the days of a mother's purification, the parents took the baby to the temple to be dedicated. They had to bring a lamb to be sacrificed for the dedication. However, if they could not afford a lamb, they brought two turtle doves or young pigeons (Leviticus 12:6-8). The account in Luke 2:23-24 tells us that Joseph and Mary brought doves or pigeons. They belonged to the poor class. They couldn't afford to bring a lamb. God chose the poorer class to bring forth the King of kings and Lord of lords.
We don't have to own our own home and have all the modern conveniences before we are ready to have a baby. All we have to have is willing and welcome hearts. God always provides for the children He sends. The poor who have children are richer than the wealthy who reject children.
May God pour out His Spirit upon you at this very special season. as May God keep all our hearts focused on the humility of His birth, rather than tinsel and toys.
Love from Nancy Campbell
“Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for leaving the glory of heaven to come to this earth. Thank you for humbling yourself to become a little baby. Thank you that you came to die for my sin. How can I ever thank you adequately? With all my being I worship and love you. Amen.”
"That the Great Angel-blinding light should shrink
His blaze, to shine in a poor Shepherd's eye;
That the unmeasur'd God so low should sink
As Pris'ner in a few poor rags to lie."
~ Richard Crashaw