Christmas. It’s my favourite time of the year.
It’s a common sentiment, but true for me as well as for millions of others around the world. A time of year that brings people together—worshiping, laughing, cooking and spending time together.
For our family, it is a time to slow down and enjoy each other and the many blessings the Lord has poured out on us. Of course there are the more “busy” things of the Christmas season that must be done. Things like cleaning and decorating, traveling and shopping.
Shopping at Christmas. Now that brings to mind a whole different idea of “togetherness.” And as I was considering this, I began to think about the importance we place on the material things we buy for each other at Christmas. We begin months in advance, thinking, researching, searching for the perfect gifts for our loved ones.
My thoughts went back to a timeless classic Christmas tale. The Gift of the Magi is the story of a poor, young couple who were so eager to please each other that they sold their most beloved possessions to buy a gift for each other—she, her beautiful hair to buy him a watch fob; and he, his pocket watch to buy a comb for her lovely hair.
Their selfless sacrifice reminds me of what Jesus did for you and me.
Set Aside His Position in Heaven
That first Christmas in Bethlehem was the Father’s gift of love to a sin-filled world. We all know John 3:16, New Living Translation, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” God gave…but I want to focus here on what Jesus gave.
Philippians 2:6-8, NLT, says, “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.”
Jesus gave up His place in heaven as the Son of God—equal to God, and all the divine privileges—to come as a servant.
Why would He do this? One reason is that He was first, servant to the Father. The Bible is full of proof that He did nothing on His own, but only that which pleased the Father. Jesus said in John 5:30, The Amplified Bible, for example, “I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.”
It was in this place of servanthood that Jesus offered Himself as the sacrifice for the world, and it was here that He humbled Himself to become a servant to the entire human race. Beginning with His disciples, Jesus laid down His life daily, watching over and protecting them, saving their lives and expounding the Word to them. He was subjected to the same temptations as we are, so He is able to help and to serve us when we are being tested by circumstances (Hebrews 2:14-18).
Can you imagine the shock on their faces when Jesus took off His robe, garbed Himself as a servant and washed His disciples’ feet? It made Peter uncomfortable for sure. “The Son of God should not wash my feet,” he cried! But He did. And it was a picture of what He did for us on the Cross.
So Here We Are…
Like Peter, we’ve let Him wash us clean. Now what? How does it change our lives? Or our Christmas? Jesus gave Peter the answer in John 13:12-15, NLT: “After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, ‘Do you understand what I was doing? You call me “Teacher” and “Lord,” and you are right, because that’s what I am. And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.’”
Many want to see the good things Jesus bought and paid for manifest in their lives. They want to be important in the kingdom of God, to live like God’s children and walk in the benefits of their covenant.
Jesus set aside His position in heaven to become a slave so you and I, who were once slaves to sin, could have a position in heaven! He told His disciples how to be leaders in His kingdom. It’s not about how much money you have or what a great business mind you possess. To be the greatest you must become a servant—just as Jesus did. First John 4:17 declares, “As he is, so are we in this world.”
Second Corinthians 6:1-2, NLT, tells us, “As God’s partners, we beg you not to accept this marvelous gift of God’s kindness and then ignore it. For God says, ‘At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.’ Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.” Jesus didn’t come to earth to show His divinity, but to show God’s partnership with humanity.
As His people, you and I are called to be His representatives to the world. We can take up our position in the kingdom of heaven “as God’s partners”—His representatives—to bless, to heal, to love people into the kingdom of God. What better gift can we give our families than to be their servants—to love and bless them and let them see Jesus in our every word and action? What better gift can we give to our heavenly Father than to be His accurate representative in the earth—revealing Him as a loving, giving and kind Savior?
In this day and age, we need to show people His love. Jesus says love is the key.
Just as Jesus became a servant, just as He has and still encourages and comforts us, we should do the same for others. Our attitude toward one another should be the same as His is toward all mankind.
I can do that. I can do it for my family, my church, my nation and the world.
Merry Christmas, Jesus. I will do this for You!