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Would we have known what true humility looked like if Jesus had come to earth in regal robes rather than swaddling clothes, in the splendor of a palace rather than stench of a stable?
Perhaps the Apostle Paul would have instructed us to follow the example of Moses, the meekest man on earth, the long-suffering leader of the Israelites. But then we’d have some sticky issues creeping into our thoughts. Didn’t Moses kill an Egyptian? Didn’t he lose patience with the murmuring children of Abraham and strike the rock, an action that left him a border short of the promised land?
Instead, we have the clearest picture of humility outlined by the One who was in the form of God, yet descended to the form of man, becoming a servant to those He came to save. In the words of Spurgeon, “The Infinite became an infant.” And this infant grew into the man who would tell us to humble ourselves as a little child if we wished to be great in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-4).
Humility. Servanthood. These are lonely words in today’s world. Ours is the culture of narcissism, grandiose exhibitionism, inflated egos, and shameless self-promotion—or in short, the age of the selfie. Not surprisingly, those who track such things report that there’s been a steep decline in altruism and empathy levels with the rise of Facebook and Twitter. C. S. Lewis wrote, “The natural life in each of us is something self-centered, something that wants to be petted and admired, to take advantage of other lives, to exploit the whole universe.”
But humility and servanthood weren’t warm fuzzy words in Jesus’s world either—nor in the time of the Greeks or the Sumerians or the Egyptians. The truth is humility and servanthood aren’t warm fuzzy words in my mind and heart, a reminder that I need a Savior to rescue me from my pride and selfishness, from my acts of sin as well as my sinful nature.
The Christmas story is for me and for you if we have the humility to see it. Christmas ushers us into the “dawn of redeeming grace,” ringing out the good news that Christ is “born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth.”
There is only one solution for our broken world and our self-centered lives—He who “made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. . .” (Philippians 2:7)
Ponder the manger this Christmas season.
See the humility. See the grace. See the glory.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
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