Settle yourself into prayer and get ready to reflect on the Word of
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who,
though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with
God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the
form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in
human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the
point of death — even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly
exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that
at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
On this very special day I like to get up extra early, turn on the Christmas tree lights, start a CD, and sit and ponder our Christmas crèche. I have loved that crèche from the day my mother first asked me as a child to set it up for our family. I am still fascinated holding the shepherds, lambs, wise men, and donkey. Now that I am a father and grandfather I look at Mary, Joseph, and the little baby Jesus with heightened wonder. It is all so amazing for me to ponder.
For these days of Advent we have reflected on the Christ Hymn as it so wonderfully expresses the meaning of this Christmas Day. God refuses to be God without us! He emptied Himself, not wanting to cling to privileges of deity, took the rank of a slave, and became human. Being fully human, Christ never played the God Card, or claimed special advantage, but obeyed the Father’s mission of world redemption. He gave Himself to death, even the death reserved for the worst criminal. In all of this He reveals the Father’s essence. Because Christ humbled Himself, the humble Father exalted Him to heaven’s highest place.
The implications of the Christ Hymn for readers are obvious. If the sovereign Son of God could so humble Himself and pour out His life for others, then so must we: “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”.
Because we worship a humble, self-giving Jesus, then walking with Jesus will mean that we seek to be humble and self-giving. “The shared life of the Father, Son, and Spirit is about giving, not taking; sharing not hoarding; blessing others with life for their sake, not manipulating for divine control. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are focused upon giving themselves for our benefit, so that we, too, can experience real life.” (C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited) This is the real life, the new life that the Son of God humbles Himself to give us!
We cannot be Christlike without Christ. The Christian life is Christ. We cannot have the mind of Christ without Him. Jesus will teach us:
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Humility is the first lesson in Jesus’ school of discipleship:
Jesus offers Himself as Teacher. He tells us what the spirit both is, which we shall find Him as Teacher, and which we can learn and receive from Him… My one need is humility. And let us believe that what He shows, He gives; what He is, He imparts.” (Andrew Murray, Humility, Emphasis added)
Humility is a wondrous attitude and attribute. It is a freedom of life that Christ, our humble God, commands and will give us!
- What new thoughts about God does the Christ Hymn stir in you?
- What new thoughts about your relationships with other people does the Christ Hymn stir in you?
- How about this for a lifelong resolution for the New Year: to make humility “the object of special desire, prayer, faith and practice”?
“What they call up, we may well call down. What they call success we may
well call failure. What they call achievement we may well call entrapment.
We aren’t in this thing for ourselves only.”
Joan Chittister, Wisdom Distilled from Daily Life
Previous Advent Devotionals
Dr. Timothy Smith
Water from Rock Ministries, Founder and Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Timothy Smith, has dedicated much of his life to helping people grow in intimacy with God and experiencing spiritual renewal. During his 35 years of ministering to people from various backgrounds as an ordained minister, chaplain (hospital, hospice, and prison) spiritual director, adjunct seminary professor, and retreat leader, Tim has experienced firsthand the renewing power of Jesus Christ. And his many experiences of renewal have taught him the need for connecting an intelligent biblical faith to a warm, heart-felt devotion to God. We must be people of head and heart, together.
Thus, in his teaching and ministry, Tim focuses on laying a biblical foundation for faith, along with training in the spiritual practices that Christ and his Church have pursued. In seeking renewal for our day, Tim draws upon the disciplines and vitality that shape the various streams of Christian devotion and welcomes all who seek to know God better.
Tim’s daily prayer for the Spirit’s renewing power is taken from the Apostle Paul:
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
— Ephesians 3:16-19