This year marks my 23rd Christmas. I love this time of year. Like, really really love it. It’s kinda my favorite. It’s easy for me to get swept up in the lights, the festivities, the ugly Christmas sweater wearing, and the shopping of the holiday season. Not to mention all of the delicious treats and goodies! Oh, and let’s not forget the Hallmark movies! (I’m a serious sucker for a good Christmas Hallmark movie.) The holiday season can be so busy.
But this year, I’m deliberately choosing to slow down and wonder afresh at the birth of Jesus Christ, which is so much more than just a cutesy nativity scene. The Christmas story has been told millions of times over the years, perhaps to the point of growing redundant to some of us. We know it by heart and could probably recite it in our sleep. Bethlehem. No room at the inn. Star. Baby. Manger. Angels. Shepherds. BUT YA’LL. It’s truly spectacular and still worthy of marveling over.
Just think…Jesus Christ the Lord, Son of God, Creator of the incomprehensibly vast universe, King of angels, left the glories of heaven and was born as a tiny, helpless babe to a young virgin and a lowly carpenter. His first bed was a crude manger in a rustic stable. This long-awaited Savior, foretold of in so many prophecies, had a quiet entrance without much fanfare or fuss. The King of Kings was welcomed into this world by livestock and simple shepherds. Jesus could have chosen to be born in a beautiful palace to the most prestigious family, wrapped in the most luxurious fabric, and placed in the most ornate of cradles. But He did not. I love the way the song “Winter Snow” puts it:
“[HE] could’ve come like a mighty storm, with all the strength of a hurricane.
He could’ve come like a forest fire, with the power of Heaven in His flame.
He could’ve swept in like a tidal wave, or an ocean to ravish our hearts.
He could’ve come through like a roaring flood, to wipe away the things we’ve scarred.
But He came like a winter snow, quiet and soft and slow, that falls from the earth to the sky below.”
Humility can be described as long-suffering, or strength under control. The way Jesus was born set the tone for the rest of His life. His birth was an especially humble one, but the humility didn’t stop there. He then lived a life of complete humility, and died the most humiliating death. His entire life was marked by utmost humility, before both God and man.
Who although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God) did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained. But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the Cross!”
Philippians 2:6-8 (Amplified)
For even the Son of God came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.
This begs the question, “WHY?!” Why did He choose to humble Himself so completely? The bewildering answer is love for mankind, the purest and most undefiled love. A love that was not selfish, but selfless. A love that was not proud or self-seeking, but willingly chose to give everything, even life itself. He loved us at our darkest and filthiest. He loved us enough to humble Himself to be enter this weary world as a fragile baby, live the perfect life, and die the perfect atoning death —the worthy for the unworthy. Jesus did this so that wicked mankind might be rescued from the sin that so utterly enslaved us, the sin that would eternally separate us from God. He loved us enough to bridge the otherwise impossible gap between us and God. Love came down.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
2 Corinthians 8:9
So, let’s soak up the sights and sounds of the season. Goodness knows we could all use some Christmas cheer after this year. But at the risk of sounding totally cliche, let’s also not forget the true reason for the season. As we take time to behold our Lord and Savior this Christmas season, may our reaction be as the wise men’s was when they saw him — one of humbly falling down, worshipping, and offering our all to the King of Kings, with whom no one and nothing can compare. O come, let us adore Him.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”