Christmas Devotion - Day 16

16-12-2018  |  Matthew Campbell  |  YOUTH

READ Luke 2:1-7 (Part 3)

 

You may have heard the story about a principal in a large, diverse high school. He was in charge of over one hundred staff, as well as a few thousand pupils. This man was respected, powerful and well thought of in the community. The grades in his high school exceeded that of other schools in the area. His name was put forward for numerous leadership and educational awards. This principal had seen the school through tough times and progressed them to a position whereby they were one of the most sought after schools for parents to send their children.

One Winter, the school's caretaker took sick. For a period of a few months, the caretaker was unable to work and, due to various circumstances, the school struggled to find someone willing to fill the position for the period of time necessary. However, business continued as usual. Staff and pupils noticed a small dip in the school's general cleanliness, but nothing too severe. Somehow, the areas which you would imagine to get particularly dirty and smelly, continued to maintain a good standard of hygiene.

One day, a teacher wished to get a few extra hours of marking done before the school day started. This teacher, rather unusually, decided to come into school at 6am. As he walked to his classroom, he noticed a noise from the bathrooms. This seemed strange. "Surely no one would be in the school at this time of day," he thought "Who else would be here at 6am in the morning?!?"  As the teacher curiously entered the bathroom, he discovered the school principal, wearing rubber gloves and on his hands and knees, scrubbing the filthy bathroom floors and toilets. This was a practice, the teacher would discover, that this principal had been doing regularly for the past few months in the caretakers absence.

I remember hearing this story a number of years ago. The details and validity of my re-telling, I must confess, are a little sketchy! Ok - very sketchy (A lot of creative license was used). However, excusing my inability to remember the in's and out's of exactly how it happened, the principle is the same. The reason the story resonates with each of us, I think, is because we all appreciate humility - especially from someone in power. That’s why we love it when, upon meeting our favorite celebrities, we discover that they take time for commoners like us. No one likes it when they discover their favorite celebrity is stuck up and filled with their own sense of self-importance. Humility resonates with humanity!

The reason, I believe, that humility resonates with us, is because we are hardwired to be in relationship with God - and God, as we see in this last section in Luke 2:1-7, is the epitome of humility.

I don’t know if you watch sport. Maybe not. But If you pay any attention to the sporting world, you will know that MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) has become increasingly popular in the past few years - particularly in our land where Connor McGregor has emerged as one of their major stars. But in MMA, and other sports like it, the fighters entry to the ring is always hyped up. As soon as they are about to enter the stage, the lights flash, their special video rolls, the entrance music plays - all of this is to suggest that the person you are about to see is a big deal! They want you to know that this arrival is significant.

Yet, in Luke 2 we literally have the most significant arrival in the history of the world. However, there are no flashing lights. There is no background music. No camera's are zoomed in casting a live feed to the rest of the world. This is the entry of the Messiah - God in flesh. Yet look at the conditions through which He enters the scene (v7):

7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn

Could this arrival be anymore understated? Jesus, the king of all kings, the one who was literally involved in creating this entire Universe, enters the world by being born in a manger. Our minds of what this scene would be like are sometimes glamorized - we have seen too many cartoons depicting this event. However, if you've ever been to a farm (perhaps you live on one), imagine the smelliest part of that farm -  that is probably a more accurate picture of what this was like. It's very unlikely that even the poorest members of our society would be born in conditions like this. Jesus is born in the most humble way possible!

This is what God is like. It is impossible to capture God's being in words. He is so different to us that we cannot even define him. But what Luke shows us in this account is that, even though God is powerful, glorious and majestic; he is also humble.

How should that affect you? Well, at the very least, it should humble you. But more significantly, it should cause you to worship Jesus wholeheartedly! What other god is like this? What other religion offers a God of ultimate glory and ultimate humility? Yet, this is what the God of the Bible is like. Why was Jesus born this way? It's because, as Luke says at the end of verse 7, 'there was no place for him in the inn.' Neal Maxwell shares an interesting observation about our response to this king of glory and humility. He says, “Each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there is room for Jesus!”

This knowledge of what God is like could cause us to respond in a lot of different ways. Ultimately, however, as Maxwell reminds, there are ultimately only 2 categories. Either we make room for Jesus or we don't. I pray that you have decided to make room for Jesus in trusting him as your means of Salvation. If you have, I pray that today you will make room for him in your walk of faith as the busyness of the Christmas season intensifies!

 

Questions For Reflection:

1) 'Humility resonates with humanity.' What examples of humility have you seen which resonate with you?

2) 'Jesus is the epitome of humility.' Think of your friends/family who don't know Jesus this Christmas. Do you think they view him in this way? How can you demonstrate Christ's humility to them this season?

3) Aside from this devotion, how else can you 'make room' for Jesus today?
 

 

Prayer for today:

God, thank you for the humility demonstrated by your Son, the Lord Jesus. I pray that, as I meditate on the humility of Christ,  my heart would be fill of gratitude. Thank you that, In Christ, the fullness of your deity was pleased to dwell and when we see Jesus, we've seen the father. Help me to reflect the humility of Christ today and, most importantly, through the help of your Spirit, help me to worship you wholeheartedly.