We approach Christmas with news of massive layoffs, a sputtering economy, Occupiers camping out in front of City Halls, and Europe teetering on the edge of financial meltdown. Many on this side of the pond are worried sick, in spite of the fact that we are wealthy in comparison to the majority of the world.
Concerns about a contracting economy create a shrinking feeling. And I wonder… could that shrinking feeling be a small, small glimpse of what Jesus felt when he squeezed into a human body?
“When the time came,” writes Paul, Jesus “set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process.” (Philippians 2:6, The Message).
Because I will be working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we’re going to enjoy our Christmas eve dinner on Christmas day, and open a few gifts the next morning. The highlight will be our stocking exchange, where each gift has a written clue taped to the outside. It’s one way we’re keeping it simple this year.
Another highlight for me will be serving at our Open Closet ministry this Saturday, during which we will give a Christmas tree and a bag of groceries to over 1000 families. The line begins forming at the crack of dawn, and it will wrap around our church building. I serve in a church that loves to “give it away” in response to God’s staggering generosity and abundance.
If you are feeling pinched this Christmas, then consider the degree to which God stooped low. Allow the mystery of the incarnation to settle into your mind and heart. Consider again God’s a supreme act of condescension, and bow to the One who stooped low.
Bowing in adoration to the God who bent low to us means that we acknowledge that our greatest security is not found in any economy others than God’s economy, who demonstrates his love by becoming poor so that we might become rich in the ways that matter most: rich in hope, love, peace and joy. And it is precisely those doors of a deeper reality that God will open when we feel squeezed.
What doors will God opening for you in this season of seeming scarcity? I urge you to ask God to show you. Is it a door of deepening trust in His provision? A door of connection with others to find support ? Is it a door of generosity that would activate your faith in new ways? While news and blogs report about doors that are closing, I encourage you to seek that door that is God opening for you in His abundance. And may God’s blessing in Christ prompt you to bow in service in someway to someone, just as he bent to serve us.