23-Dec-2015 18 FEB
The true message of Christmas: without humility there is no redemption
By Brendan Malone
The season of Christmas is often marked by busyness and stress, and because of this we can forget to stop and take time to contemplate the great wonder and mystery of this important season.
And the importance of Christmas really can’t and shouldn’t ever be understated by us.
Obviously it commemorates the birth of Jesus, nine months after He enters the world in the most profoundly important unplanned pregnancy (from Mary's perspective) in all of human history.
The milestone of His birth is a hugely important one for our human redemption, and it doesn’t take long for the three wise men to show up, and, with the gift of Myrrh (a spice used for burial), remind us that Christ’s journey will end in our salvation by way of a cross and an empty tomb.
Christmas is a period of the Christian story that is rich with mystery, depth and significance.
But one of the most glaring and obvious truths of Christmas often passes us by completely unnoticed, despite the fact that everything about this celebration calls us to consider it ever more deeply.
What is that truth?
That humility is the doorway to our redemption.
It begins with a young Jewish girl who, when the angel appears to her and tells her she is pregnant with the promised messiah, humbly replies by saying ‘let it be done unto to me according to His will.’
This simple act of humility opens the door to our salvation.
Then a Jewish carpenter named Joseph has to humble himself, do a complete one-eighty and choose to embrace very serious scandal by marrying Mary instead of quietly divorcing her as he had initially told her he would do.
Then there are the three wise kings, who travel many arduous miles in order to humble themselves by bowing down before a mere child in a foreign land.
But none of this should surprise us when we stop to consider the greatest act of humility of all involved in Christmas - that Christ, the Son of God and second divine person of the Trinity would put aside his glory and lower Himself to become just like us.
Christ is humility personified, and His Incarnation is a powerful reminder of His great love and mercy for all of us.
Christ then calls us to do exactly as He has first done, by laying down our lives and dying to self.
This paradox, which lies at the heart of the Gospel, seems like madness and is the ultimate counter-cultural act in a society where we are constantly told that the path to happiness is found through self-gratification, not self-giving.
Christmas is a powerful reminder that if we truly want to change the world, and are serious about being disciples of Christ, then we always have to start with humility and the service of others.
For without humility, there can be no redemption.