As an editor for Crosswalk.com, I contribute to a daily devotional discussing “the intersection of faith and life.” Although coming up with sound, yet fresh content every week is a challenge, I do love contributing. And since it’s Christmas, my devotional today just seemed appropriate to repost. You can read — and listen to — the original post on Crosswalk.com.
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“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” – Philippians 2:5-7
I’m a Christmas carol snob, I guess, as I scorn most songs written in the past 30 years. I do have notable exceptions, however, when the lyrics go beyond the kitsch of “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and other such piffle. We have more than enough American Christmas songs, but there’s always room for a thoughtful reflection in the canon of carols. So yes, I make an exception for the CCM favorite “Welcome to Our World.” Here are some of the lyrics:
Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world
So many Christmas songs focus on the joy of the season, and rightfully so. It’s a joyous time, both culturally and spiritually. But occasionally I need to view the holiday from a different perspective – that is, from the viewpoint of heaven. From God the Son’s perspective, becoming human was – to put it mildly – a huge demotion. Christmas began with an act of submission and humility on the part of the Son. The Creator consented to become one of the creation, with all of our blood, sweat, and tears. From the heavenly perspective, the Incarnation arrived with sorrow, as part of the Godhead separated himself physically from the Father. Christmas signals an arrival into our world, but a departure, however brief, from a greater world.
Jesus’s demonstrated humility is just one of the reasons the Incarnation should inspire such awe in us. Yes, the Incarnation dignified a downtrodden humanity. But the Incarnation also required sacrifice we can’t begin to describe. All this before the ultimate shame of the cross.
The Puritan Thomas Watson meditated on Christ’s humility with these words:
“He came not in the majesty of a king, attended with [a bodyguard], but he came poor; not like the heir of heaven, but like one of an inferior descent. The place he was born in was poor; not the royal city Jerusalem, but Bethlehem, a poor obscure place. He was born in an inn, and a manger was his cradle, the cobwebs his curtains, the beasts his companions; he descended of poor parents…. He was poor, that he might make us rich…. He lay in the manger that we might lie in paradise. He came down from heaven, that he might bring us to heaven.”
Intersecting Faith & Life: As you consider the joy of this holiday season – whether you’re anticipating the unwrapped smiles, lighting the Advent wreath, singing carols, making cookies, or whatever – take time to consider the counterpoint. Our joy is Christ’s first sacrifice.