DID YOU MEET THE NEW NEIGHBOR?
My 2007 ornament, “He humbled himself” depicts and honors the “star” of the Christmas story who set aside being God to move into the neighborhood. The star depicts the height of glory from which Jesus descended to arrive in the most unlikely form possible – as a helpless human infant, to an unwed couple, whose pre-teen mom claimed to still be a virgin. His crib was an animal’s trough, his mattress mere straw, his kingdom just a backwoods town.
His birth could have gone unnoticed except for the wonder that surrounded it – heralded by a star and a heavenly host and rumors of prophesies recorded hundreds of years earlier providing minute details about a savior to be born, with ties to times of old, to creation itself and to a messiah who would one day be installed as the glorified king of all eternity!
Given all the build up, the birth circumstances didn’t exactly give the messiah a running start. It’s almost like the author of his story stacked all the odds against him by design so that anyone he tried to “save” could not claim to being swayed by any appearance of privilege, status, prosperity or slate of hand.
So when the cards of life seemed stacked against me this year, I was able to turn to a God who knows what that is like, a God who said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28) – because hedescended to us, to meet us where we live, to demonstrate empathy by personal experience. When we choose to align ourselves with him, his spirit takes up residence in us and, as we permit and yield, we become more like him,transformed into his likeness (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 12:2).
As we follow where he bids us to go, we ascend with him and discover heaven and its rule right here in the very midst of our lives. Occasionally, we experience a slice of heaven and see life as Jesus did.
The ornament’s theme scripture is Philippians 2:5-11 (from the New Living Translation):
Jesus experienced life at the bottom and so he comes into our darkest, most despairing experiences in search of us, to pull us out and show us the life he has in mind for us, “life to the full” (see John 10:10).
Merry Christmas. Wishing you “life to the full” – only available in Christ.