Gifts are fun, but they can get out of hand, and that happened to my family one year. We had more gifts than we had room under and around the tree. After that excess, we decided to limit our gift giving to one-per-person, which turned out well, because gifts become pricier as kids grow up.
This year, we enter Christmas with continued news of layoffs, a looming fiscal cliff, and cutbacks. Many are struggling to make ends meet, out of work, or just feeling pinched.
That shrinking feeling is but a small, small glimpse of what Jesus did 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).
This Christmas, should you be feeling pinched, 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 supreme act of condescension, and follow the Magi’s lead by bowing to worship the One who stooped low.
Bowing in adoration to the God who bent low to us means that we acknowledge that our ultimate security is not found in the stock market, or a new political program, but in the God who became poor so that we might become rich in the ways that matter most: rich in hope, love, peace and joy. These are true riches we discover as we follow Jesus, who opens doors that lead us into the riches of God.
What door is God opening up to you this Christmas? I urge you to ask God to show you. Is it a door that leads to a deeper trust in His provision? A door that leads to a life-giving connection with others? Or a door that leads to you offering a gift of extravagant generosity to God’s work?
It is my prayer for the church I serve that we will continue to grow rich the ways that matter most: in our connection with one another, our worship of the Living God, and our service in the world. In these ways we will become that light that Jesus envisioned us to be, bright with life and bowing in service, just as Jesus bent to serve us.