A Christmas song I make a point to listen to each year is written from Joseph’s point of view. The most memorable line is “What a strange way to save the world!” Indeed, what mind would have ever conceived such a plan? The eternal Word enters time, beginning as a single cell in a virgin teen’s womb. In humility which outshines all other humilities, he comes to the world he made. Helplessness marks his advent. Life begins for Christ entirely dependent on his mother and stepfather and it ends with the same kind of helplessness as he surrendered to cruel nails! The omnipotent God choses helplessness in order to fill the role ‘Suffering Servant.’ He became ‘The Ruler Who Serves’ and now is the ‘Servant Who Rules.’ What a strange way to save the world. Such a plan could only be conceived by deity! His thoughts prove themselves once more, higher than ours.
Yet even as we marvel and celebrate this wondrous humility, we hardly imitate it! Despite the command to have such a mind as Christ, in his humility, we neither admire nor emulate humility in the church.
At an early age I felt a call to Christian ministry. This was confirmed by my local church, then the diocese and finally by the national church. I did not properly understand this as a call to humility but rather sought prominence, first in my organization where early on I became Field Secretary and was later named Regional Director. I became the chairperson of a national organization within my then denomination. Some congratulated me at each move up the ladder, but I came to see that I was climbing entirely the wrong way on the ladder. Where Jesus set the example of a ministry of descent I had spent energy in going exactly the other direction!
Titles and job descriptions are not the mark of Christlikeness. The character of Christ is best seen in our humble service to God and to others.
I do not ‘beat myself up’ for past attitudes. I have learned better and now I must live better. We can spend a lot of Advents missing the point but having grasped the point we are now responsible for living accordingly! We are called to enter our world as Jesus did in his advent, in humility and love. In this way we not only bear the Good News in our words but in our lives as well. It is only in humility that we tap into the real power of Christmas to transform and save the world. It is a strange and wonderful way and Christ beckons us to walk in it!
On another note, Threshold House has received a huge boost. An older gentleman who has recently survived cancer, is patching the remaining holes in our walls. This has been a wonderful gift.
The latest episode of what I call “moving goal posts” is that I need to purchase and have new hinges installed in six of our doors. These are doors provide ‘fire breaks’ and so need new hinges which will make them self-closing. This is the last known hurdle to occupancy, so we are getting near, indeed.
Please keep praying for us. God continues to use strange means for his Kingdom purposes.