The Christmas season is a very special time to pause and to ponder. We often have the great privilege to reflect upon and read about the familiar story of the beautiful baby Jesus who lay down his sweet head in the soft manger. He was surrounded by His adoring parents, darling animals and adorned with precious gifts. And heavenly choirs of angels sang glory to God because of His coming to the Earth. He is the picture of the perfect Prince of Peace that the prophet Isaiah spoke about. (Isaiah 9:6)
This Christmas season, however, the word ‘undignified’ has been stirring in my spirit. Undignified means without honor or deference to one’s status or position. This word gives us the opportunity to explore the coming of Christ in a wholly different light.
Jesus was the Son of God. He existed before time. He was active in the creation of the whole world. He is the author of faith. He would go on to perform miracles and healings on the Earth. Nature itself is at His command and demons submit to His authority. He ultimately was raised from the dead because the power of the grave could not hold Him. All authority in heaven and on Earth belongs to Him.
And He came.
He came. Not in power and authority as He so rightly deserved but in the ultimate act of humility.
He was born into shame. The shame of a family marred by gossip and rejection by those who were not inclined to believe He was born of a virgin.
He was born away. In Bethlehem, a tiny town, insignificant in so many ways.
His birth was strange. In a place that was isolated, in a dirty animal trough because there was nowhere else to stay.
He was born into pain, through the great physical pains of a woman in labor.
He arrived in a different way. And the King of Kings, submitted Himself to the fragility and dependency of a newborn babe.
And the wrongness of this is jarring because this is not the least of what our Wonderful Counsellor, Everlasting Father and Mighty God deserved.
Position does not dictate purpose
Yet this lowly position was one that Jesus Himself chose. He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) Philippians chapter 2 verse 7 says that ‘He emptied himself [of all divine privileges] by taking the form of a servant, being born of the likeness of men.’
Still, His position did not dictate His purpose.
His purpose was to seek and save the lost. (Luke 19:10) So set on His purpose, He would continue to humble himself to an ever more lowly position; he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)
Jesus was completely undignified, for you and for me. Humiliated, naked, alone and broken in a way that the perfect Prince of Peace never deserved. All so that we might be spared. So that our rebellion would no longer separate us from God. So that we might have life eternal in relationship with Him.
Our position forever changed
Because of this relationship, we become positioned as sons and daughters of God and co-heirs with Christ. We are beloved and cherished members of the family of God. And we also share in the purpose of Christ; to seek and to save the lost, just as Jesus did.
We do this in the same manner as our beautiful Saviour and we seek to serve and not be served, to lay down our lives for others.
This Christmas season, we delight in lowly positions; in doing dishes when everyone has disappeared, in silent generosity, in listening to the lonely, in moving towards those who are marginalized all because we know that our position does not dictate our purpose. We know that Jesus used His lowly position as the very vehicle that would release the fullness of His potential and outwork His purpose and that in His divine wisdom, He continues to ‘choose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; and the weak things of the world to shame the strong.’ ( 1 Corinthians 1:27)
We too, can find honour in being undignified, as we celebrate and honour our perfect Prince of Peace this Christmas.