I have become acutely aware, as I have reflected the past few days, of what some call the "spirit of Christmas." No, it has nothing to do with shopping (did that and survived), nothing to do with trees and decorations (still to be done...), and nothing to do with gift exchange. Well, maybe it does have to do with the last one!
Christ...God's gift...exchanged His place in Heaven to "move into the neighborhood" (Jn 1:14, The Message translation). Paul reflects (from The Message; Philippians 2:6-8), that Christ "didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion."
As I read these two passages together I'm challenged with these thoughts personally:
- How much do I think of myself?
- How much do I cling to the advantage of life as it presently is?
- Am I willing to sacrifice? To live without? Knowing that my sacrifice may be rejected!
- How many "special privileges" do Iput into place to shield me from sacrifice and suffering?
- To what extent am I willing to "become" so that others can be made aware of the hope and eternal life that I have found in Christ?
- Do I live a selfless, obedient life?
- How could I ever die a selfless, obedient death if I can't live such life?
- Am I willing to move into someone else's neighborhood? Across the ocean? Around the world? For a season? Forever?
I'm wrestling with this one - I hope some of you will wrestle with it as well.
If I knew I were going to die in 6 months, I'd live my life in a drastically different way from day-to-day - what's keeping me from it?
As I said, yesterday: People, people matter!