10 Dec Christmas Reflections on Humility
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Deacon Cheng Ji - 10 December 2022
Weekend Devotion: Christmas Reflections On Humility
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I am sure everyone is looking forward to Christmas, especially with COVID-19 almost behind us.
In Singapore, during Christmas, we see fake snow and fake trees. We sing songs of fictional characters and dressed up as them. Most people plan in their minds how to have the most fun and impress others with our stories, parties and gifts.
Amidst the festivities, it is so easy to miss the real meaning of Christmas, and the message of humility in the Christmas story in the bible.
First, let us consider the humility of Jesus that is revealed at Christmas
In Philippians 2:6-8, the bible tells us that Jesus,
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
As we celebrate Christmas, let us not forget that the first coming of Jesus Christ is in essence, a supreme act of humility. Jesus gave up his divine glory, to become human in flesh, and die on the cross to save ungrateful and underserving sinners from eternal condemnation.
In his book, Knowing God, J. I Packer, on the Christmas spirit, he writes “It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temperament of Him who for our sakes became poor, . . . the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor—spending and being spent—to enrich their fellowmen, giving time, thought, care, and concern to do good to others
If we want to imitate Christ, we must emulate His humility to serve others sacrificially. This Christmas, let it be not just about what you will enjoy and how you will feel. Consider how you can humble yourselves and as written in the earlier verses of Philippians, “value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Next, let us consider the humility of Mary.
In the account in the gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel visited Mary and told her that she is highly favoured and the Lord is with her. The angel also revealed to her that she will conceive as a virgin and give birth to the Son of God,
However, she was troubled, afraid and did not know how it could be possible.
Indeed, as we read on, we know that there was a census and baby Jesus had to be born in a manger. Nothing seem to be going well. But didn’t the angel say that she is highly favoured and the Lord is with her?
For many of us, we like to be in control of our situations. The modern society offers many conveniences and enables us to be in more control over many things. However, when our plans are disrupted or when things are uncertain, we will often feel very frustrated and anxious.
In her encounter with the angel, Mary ended the conversation with the words in Luke 1:35-38
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:35-38)
Sometimes, humility is about recognising the sovereignty of God and remembering His words. Mary’s words remind of our position as a servant before God and calls us to respond correctly in faith to God’s words, no matter what our situation is.
Finally, let us consider the humility of the shepherd
Like Mary, the shepherds living out in the fields received a message from an angel.
The shepherds were not people of high social standing. This tells us that the good news is for everyone, not for the powerful and rich.
However, they are not just humble in their status but also in their heart.
And it is their humility that have led them to hurry to Bethlehem to seek Jesus, Joseph and Mary. They are looking forward to see their Saviour! For us, we also need to have the humility to know that we need to be saved.
Contrast their response to King Herod, who wanted to kill baby Jesus when he knew that a Messiah was to be born. He would not allow the king of kings to live because He cannot imagine being under the rule of another king.
It is also noteworthy to mention that it is not always the case that those who are humble in status will always be humble in the heart. A clear example is the thief on the cross who rejected Jesus.
We will not be saved by our knowledge, wealth, power or good works. The good news is that a saviour, the messiah is born to us. The gospel is the power of God, for salvation to anyone who believes. And we are saved by faith, through grace.
It is the shepherds’ humility that enabled them to be used by God to spread the good news. They will share the good news because they cherished it.
Therefore, we must not let our humble conditions constrain how we think God can use us.
This Christmas, let’s reflect whether we have the humility to be used by God?
Therefore, brothers and sisters, Christmas is not about making our holiday wishes come true.
It is about receiving God’s good news with humility, then growing in humility through the unexpected circumstances in our lives and allowing our humility to be used by God to spread the good news.
We will be empowered to do these as we rejoice in God’s sovereign grace and delight in His Words when we see the example of humility, love and sacrifice in the life of Jesus.