God Coming As Flesh and Bones
The Christmas story has become so familiar and sentimentalized that we miss the point of God’s coming. We aren’t shocked that Mary was an unwed teenager, when she became pregnant. We are not disgusted that Jesus was born in a smelly barn and slept in an animal’s feed trough. We aren’t indignant when ragtag shepherds get the scoop on the most significant event in history. Most of all, we don’t think it incredible that God the Omnipotent, Sovereign, Almighty descends to our low level of rebellious creatures, that the boundless, infinite one takes on the constraints of human flesh and bones in order to win our hearts back. This is the story of God’s great love for us.
But why does God choose shepherds to be the first ones to know what God’s done? Shepherds were lowly, dirty outcasts living in the fields. They were relegated to the outer courtyards of the temple because they were considered godless. They were treated as second-class citizens and they knew it. But it is precisely because the shepherds had no pretensions about themselves, and knew they were nobodies in need of something, that God chooses them to hear that “to you is born this day a savior.” Only those who know their spiritual poverty will get the point of God’s coming. Only those who realized their needy condition will rejoice to know that someone has come to rescue them from the pit of their sin and deliver their poor souls. Only those who confess their helplessness will fall on their knees in worship and gratitude for Jesus their Savior.
—Ms. Susie Wong
- Who would we consider to be “shepherds” in today’s society?
- Read Matthew 5:3-12. How does who God blesses differ from who our culture blesses?
- How are you too independent and self-sufficient, and not “poor in spirit”?
- In what areas of your life do you hold onto and insist on your personal rights? What would meekness look like in your life?
How Do I Act?
- Look critically at commercials, advertisements, movie themes and TV programs. Reflect on what attitudes about self-sufficiency, independence and neediness are being portrayed.
- Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-31. What do you think God thinks about the attitudes and values being promoted through the media (see #1)? How would those same commercials, advertisements, movies and TV shows be different, according to God’s wisdom?
- Locate a “giving tree” or “toys for tots” program in your area. Purchase a gift for a needy child.
- Schedule some time during this holiday season to visit with the elderly or children in the hospital.