Order Your Complimentary Copy of the Spring Devotional – Encouragement in Christ

Advent Devotional 2021 – December 22nd

PRAYER

Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray.

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we long to know yet more of your boundless love and grace. Beyond the written word we seek the living Word, Jesus. Reveal to us by Your Spirit the glories of Your incarnate Son so that we might more perfectly love and follow Him. Amen

REFLECTION

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. 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 on the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself…
Philippians 2:3-8a

From the time I was a very little boy I have loved the Christmas creche or nativity scene. Like a picture is worth a thousand words, so there is something endearing for me to see, even touch, figures of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. Somehow it makes it tangible for me that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

We are indebted to St. Francis of Assisi for giving to the world the first Christmas creche; it happened in 1223 in the village of Greccio, Italy. Francis hoped that the creche might help villagers engage the mystery of God in the flesh. So Francis built a stable near the town and stocked it with barnyard animals. People prepared candles and torches for a procession to the little stable to behold the wonder of the Incarnation.

It is common at Christmas to think of Jesus revealing to the world who God is; but Jesus also came revealing who God created us to be. Jesus displays in His life, death, resurrection, and ascension what the divine nature is, but, as well, what human nature is meant to be.

Today’s scripture reveals Jesus taking on “human form” and humbling Himself, showing how we might seek our full humanity. Jesus demonstrated that to be fully human is not found in quests for power, wealth, and status, but in humble service to others. It means to “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.” For us humans to be fully alive, is to be like Jesus, who is the human being God intends us to be.

Eastern Orthodox theologian, John Behr, observes that Jesus “defines for us what it is to be God and what it is to be human, in one, at the same time. In the way in which he dies as a human being – not simply by dying, but rather by his voluntary Passion… he shows us what it is to be God… yet at the same time what it is to be human.” (John Behr, John the Theologian and His Paschal Gospel: A Prologue to Theology) The cross is the revelation of Jesus’ true divinity and His true humanity. That is why, in losing our lives for Jesus’ sake, we find life (Matthew 10:39).

Let’s get in the true Christmas Spirit and live today’s scripture: Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…” This is to be fully human and fully alive!

WORSHIP

Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.

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