Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for walking with me as we wait and watch and meditate on the birth of Jesus. I’m thankful to God for giving me this idea and walking me through 24 late nights of writing.
My favourite Christmas verse is from Philippians chapter 2:
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
What an inspirational example to follow. I love the opening sentence – ‘have this mindset in your relationships’. What does that look like? It is so sacrificial and humble that it’s hard to get our minds around.
This summer I became convicted that I needed to demonstrate more sacrificial love towards my husband for awhile in our daily life – that God wanted to give him some insights about being loved unconditionally. My first reaction was um, can’t I be the one who gets the sacrificial love first? HA. I wish I could say that I immediately was excited and thought it was a great idea, but I was reluctant to agree to laying down my own preferences and schedules in order to place him first and serve and lift him up. I think I feared being a doormat or taken advantage of or that my needs would be forgotten. I remember at first doing tasks thinking, ‘they better not think I’m always going to do this on my own.’ I’m not proud of that, but that’s me just being honest.
Several reminders came to me over the following months, such as a quote that is supposedly from Mother Teresa – ‘Wash the plate not because it is dirty or because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.’ And God kept reminding me that he’s enough to meet whatever needs I have. I don’t even know why I was reluctant at first. Incidentally, I’m not sure the lesson was ever really for my husband in the first place, as it has been so good for me to think about these things and step forward in faith, and it has really enriched our marriage as we walk through this life together.
If that simple task was difficult for me to humble myself for, imagine HOW MUCH MORE difficult it was for Jesus to give up everything he had since before the creation of the world to come as a newborn baby to a young couple in a barn in a town that wasn’t even their home. But he took on the being of a servant, and became obedient even to death on a cross. I need to sit with that for a moment.
It is so beautiful. It puts so much in perspective for me. I love him so much.
The last few verses are so triumphant, about God raising him up to the highest place, that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.
So you and me, we come to this manger, theoretically. Do we peek around the corner just to be nosy and not commit to any of it? Do we clean ourselves up a little bit so we are a little more presentable? Do we just read about it later and not go see for ourselves? Do we write it off as crazy-talk?
No, I pray we don’t. We go and see what Jesus is all about. We go just as we are, with pride and competing agendas and pain and whatever other dirt is on our clothes. We go right in to the stable and look into his eyes and take that amazing sacrificial love deep into our hearts. We humble ourselves and bow, we slowly kneel as we stretch out our hands and worship.
The King has come. Emmanuel, God with us. Glory to God in the highest. Thank you Lord.