One thing I really love about the Christmas season is that I can always find something new to learn from it. Sometimes it seems like I have heard the Christmas story a million times and it’s easy for me to get caught up in feeling like I know everything I need to know about it. However, one thing that God, thankfully, has proven to me time and time again over the past year is that there is always more.
A few days ago, as I was going through my Advent devotional from She Reads Truth, I came across a passage in John 13 that talks about Jesus washing his disciples’ feet, which confused me a little bit right off the bat because that passage isn’t even in our traditional Christmas story. It took me a minute to start connecting it with Christmas, and then I started realizing a theme in a lot of the things that we know about Jesus’s life that play a major role in the Christmas story.
Mary was pregnant out of wedlock. Jesus was born in a scandal.
There was no room in the inn. Jesus was laid in a manger after he was born.
King Herod intended to kill Jesus. Jesus was hunted and unwanted by earthly royalty from the very beginning of his life.
Jesus grew up to wash his disciples’ feet. He became a servant to his followers though he is the Son of God, worthy of glory and honor.
Jesus died on a cross next to criminals. He was killed for sins he did not commit to save us as sinners.
The Christmas story is the beginning of a narrative about Jesus’s life of humility. Though he as the Son of God deserves all the world has to offer and more, he had a lowly birth which led into a life of servanthood. Jesus made himself low, and I began to realize that for the majority of my life, I have been focused on doing the exact opposite. I have sought out the highest in everything – reputation, class rank, social status, positive changes, even stupid things like Pinterest followers and how many clubs and teams and organizations I could join in high school. The Christmas story is of the Savior of the world making himself low, coming to love and serve like no one ever had on Earth before; the Kathryn story is of a broken sinner trying to make herself high for completely selfish reasons. We are called to live lives modeled after the example of Jesus, not after what the world tells us is valuable. A life of obedience to God, the humble heart of a servant, and an overwhelming love was good enough for Jesus, so certainly it ought to be good enough for me as well.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
– Philippians 2:5-11