Thursday, December 15, 2011

Increase

It's been a particularly tough day, one when I've felt sort of forgotten. 

{Thank goodness for friends and wine and Christmas movies and cheer!}

After all the jolliness of an impromptu Christmas celebration at my house, I am sitting here with the Advent readings and a cup of tea.  The Psalmist is reminding me that "the LORD loves righteousness and justice," and that His plans "stand firm forever" (Psalm 33:5, 11).  Such sweet truth as I sometimes question what, really, is going on in the world, in my life.

Perhaps even more fitting after the day I've just had is Alistair Begg's sermon excerpt in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.  I've already read it once today, but it is hitting me in fuller measure tonight.  Reflecting on some of my favorite verses from Philippians 2--according to scholars and theologians the world over, some of the richest theology ever written--he writes about the incarnation and what it tells us about the nature of God the Giver:

In other words, instead of holding onto his own uninterrupted glory, he chose to set it aside... 
Jesus did not approach the incarnation asking, "what's in it for me, what do I get out of it?"
In coming to earth, he said, "I don't matter."
Jesus, you're going to be laid in a manger.
"It doesn't matter."
Jesus, you will have nowhere to lay your head.
  "It doesn't matter."
Jesus, you will be an outcast and a stranger.
"It doesn't matter."
Jesus, they will nail you to a cross, and your followers will all desert you.
And Jesus said, "That's okay."
This is what it means, he "made himself nothing, taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men."
 
I'm reminded for the hundredth time that those of us who want to be identified with him will experience these same feelings of being deserted, made an outcast, misunderstood. 

Not that my tiny little troubles hold a candle to the disgrace he bore. 

Still, it's beautiful in some small way to find that my story is his story, that on these days of feeling small, I can look to his example.  That in Christmas, he provides a resource for me to lay aside entitlement and say with him "I don't matter."  

May we become nothing this Christmas!

He must become greater, I must become less.
-John the Baptist (John 3:30)

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog