CrossReads Weekly Devotionals: Recognizing Him 12/7/2020

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by Precarious Yates

One of the most amazing aspects of the Christmas story is found in Philippians 2:6-7:

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:6-7

How awesome is this truth! The older I get, the more I realize that most people wouldn’t willingly submit to this sort of exchange, even if it was for 33 years.  But the all-powerful God chose to become vulnerable, and not just for a moment. 

In the wild, most baby mammals take a few weeks or months, and some as long as two years to become self reliant and stand on their own feet, or, as in the case of whales, swim off on their own adventures. But how many 3 year old humans would you want to see forging their own ways in the world. Humans have much longer stints of vulnerability than any animal. Why would God willingly submit himself to such vulnerability? 

Some of my favorite Christmas carols muse upon this glorious truth:

“What child is this who laid to rest on Mary’s lap is sleeping…” (What Child Is This?)

“Lullaby thou little tiny Child…” (The Coventry Carol)

“Mild He lay his glory by, born that man no more may die…” (Hark the Herald Angels Sing)

“Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.” (In the Bleak Midwinter)

In this last carol, based on the poem by Christina Rossetti, we see a paradox of recognition. In the first line, we see what it will be like at Jesus’ second coming. But no one expected that, at His first coming, Jesus would come in such a helpless and vulnerable way. He was physically vulnerable as a baby. He was socially vulnerable as the Son of a virgin. He was financially vulnerable as the Son of a young woman who had been engaged to a carpenter. No one anticipated this sort of coming. 

As we celebrate this first unexpected advent (unexpected in manner, not in reality), let us look forward with the realization that while we rightly anticipate His Second Coming, Jesus may come again in a way we don’t expect. 

His heart of love toward us never changes. His mercy never changes. But He may show up in a way we don’t expect. Keep your eyes open in this season. Let’s look for Him, not just for His second coming, for which He admonished is to wait, but in the quiet, still, or other unexpected ways.

We are more apt to encounter Him in unexpected ways when we walk in the way He did. Let’s look at more of that passage from Philippians for clues to how He walked:

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,

7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:3-7

When we embrace this attitude, we find that our Christmas season becomes what we always want it to be. 

Merry Christmas!

Precarious Yates

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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