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Dec 24, 2020

Christmas Through the Eyes of God

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: Advent Humility

Keywords: god, incarnation, humility


Christmas is all about humility...particularly the humility of God. Join us for a journey into the most humble actions of the most humble Being ever to pierce this world's darkness.


Christmas Eve 2020

Christmas Through the Eyes of God

December 24, 2020

Part 1:  The Glory of Christ Before His Humble Humanness

How often have you wondered why a certain person, say your spouse or a friend, does something the way they do? 

  • Why do they withdraw when we have a conflict or problem to solve?
  • Why do they peal their apples before they eat them?
  • Why do they let the gas tank get to empty before they fill it up again?

Chances are the answers to those questions lie somewhere in their past—maybe their upbringing as a child…or some formative experience that has now shaped their present behavior. 

Knowing about the past of someone will often help us better understand and appreciate their present behavior. 

            When it comes to the event we are celebrating tonight—the incarnation…the coming of God himself into our world in the person of the baby Jesus Christ—understanding what His life was like before this event of His birth into humanity can help us understand WHY Jesus is who He is and WHY He acted then and now as He does. 

            The passages Gabrielle, David & Jim/Gabrielle, Daniel & Leanne read for us moments ago give us some clues into the life of God the Son before He robed himself in human flesh and nature.  Pondering the baby Jesus in a feed box surrounded by smelly animals that 1st Christmas night probably doesn’t do a lot to help us grasp His existence before that night.  But these passages can.

  • Isaiah 40—invites us to lift our eyes to the stars at night and contemplate that the helpless baby lying in that manger is the very God who spoke hundreds of billions of galaxies into existence in our universe. Each of those hundreds of billions of galaxies has hundreds of billions of individual stars like our sun.  It is estimated that our Milky Way galaxy has somewhere between 100 billion up to a trillion stars.  And the babe in the manger was the same being who called them each by name… without forgetting a single one of those trillions upon trillions of stars.
  • Isaiah 45—tells us to ponder what we see on this earth—the lush vegetation, the abundance of animals…of people…and of diversity. This Earth is but a speck of dust in the cosmic universe. Yet it shouts of the creative genius of that child squirming in the manger.  Before human beings existed, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit spoke and moved and enveloped this blue planet with the creative juices of divine beauty.  The genius, the wisdom, the order, power and perfection behind the fraction of scientific information we know about this planet lay, that night, in a filthy stable surrounded by marred images of the perfect creation He had made. 
  • Colossians 1—reminds us that in, by, through, for, as a result of and by means of God the Son…the One who lay encapsulated in that tiny baby’s body…through Him everything visible and invisible was brought into existence. Whether invisible forces and parts of every single atom in existence…or whether whole yet invisible spirit beings by the billions in every part of heaven and creation, Jesus is responsible for their existence and their continuation.  This is the same Jesus who cried and nursed and slept that night in a third-world stable in a disease and sin-riddled corner of our world. 
  • In Revelation 5—this is the same Son of God, the Lamb in the center of the resplendent heavenly throne, the only being of any kind in and outside the universe who is worthy, capable and able to open God’s prophetic scroll of human history. He is the only One able to purchase from our slave-market of sin we weak, damaged, rebellious, spiteful, captive-to-sin human souls…and he has done so by the millions.  He who lay woven into that body of a tiny human baby—woven body, soul and spirit—lying in the arms of an inexperienced teen-aged mother, touched by the calloused and rough hands of a young carpenter-father…this God…this baby… would save both the parents who would raise Him and the soldiers who would crucify Him.  Somehow he would turn them and us into a nation, a priestly order and a holy, heavenly family of redeemed people who will live and love and die in and for this world for others, just as He did for us. 

Don’t let the humility of Christ’s tiny human body obscure the glory of His majestic, heavenly existence.  This baby, unlike any other child ever to see the light of day in this world, was the Creator come to His creation.  He was the Light of all people come into the darkness of all people.  He was the eternal God piercing the veil of time in order to be pierced in time for those he loves eternally--for each of us.  This unimaginably powerful and wise, this unfathomably glorious and vast God, without beginning or end, is whom we celebrate tonight. 

Part 2: Our Great God Assuming the Humility of Humanity

How many times have you said, “No,” to a job or task or invitation you considered beneath you? 

  • I remember saying, “No thanks!” to helping a drunken dormmate clean up the bathroom he had vomited all over.
  • I remember passing on continuing to work for an extermination business slithering under the tight, smelly and dark crawl-spaces of homes.
  • And there are probably a thousand other jobs I have said “no” to in my mind because my nose or stomach or eyes can’t stand the sights or smells they would require me to work with.

I’m just not that humble of a man. 

But, thank God, we have the humblest of gods.  By ‘humble’ I don’t mean He comes from humble beginnings.  We’ve already put that notion to rest with the Scriptures that tell us of His astonishing nature and pre-incarnate glory. 

            By ‘humble’ I mean someone whose love for people like us knows no boundaries.  He’s never seen or smelled anything about us that caused Him to say, “No, that’s one sin too smelly…one failure too gross…one word or thought or action too repulsive for me to rescue you from.”  Not this god. 

            Knowing all too well the degradation to which we humans have sunk from the glorious calling He had for us, our God laid aside all the glory and splendor of His own heavenly experience.  He took off the celestial robes of light that would have blinded and killed every one of us had He not so that He could wrap himself in human nakedness.  From the birthing room of the smelly stable where he entered this world naked from the womb of Mary to the battlefield of the cross where he hung shamed, exposed and naked before a world unworthy of His love, our God is the most humble being we will ever encounter in any life. 

            This night we celebrate shouts to us of the humility of the God who came to us in human form.  God initiated the clearest revelation of himself in the lowliest of places—a stable.  He did so around the lowliest of people—farm-hands and the working-poor. 

The God who cannot be contained enclosed himself in a single cell of a young woman’s body. 

The God who cannot be confined constricted himself for 9 months to that virgin’s womb. 

And when her pregnancy was full-term, God who is the only being worthy of every human acclamation of praise came virtually unnoticed into human history. 

Except for a humble young couple, a humble inn-keeper and a small band of rough and humble sheep-herders, the most important and majestic Being ever to grace this planet refused to announce His presence as every pretend royal in history has.  He moved into history with a humility never even imagined possible for a person so completely improbable. 

This humble entrance was but a foretaste of the humility of God that would be visible over the next 3 decades of history.  At every stage of life, in every situation of life, Jesus would showcase the humility of God as no human being before or since could imagine doing. 

  • As a baby He would humbly entrust his very life and divine plan to the immediate and unquestioned faith-obedience of his first-time Father called in a dream to become refugees in Egypt.
  • As a boy in His nation’s center of spirituality, he would listen to proud and pompous religious professors try to wax eloquent about things they knew virtually nothing. He would humbly guide them with questions that made it look like he, not they, was the one needing this educational encounter.
  • As adult God-in-human-flesh, He would choose a most unlikely, somewhat uneducated, clearly unprepared band of men to whom he would entrust the most important divine plan for the saving of mankind.
  • The exponentially most powerful, perfect Being that will ever exist…
    • embraced the weakness of a human body
    • suffered sickness common to us all
    • felt pain
    • touched rotting, diseased flesh
    • endured the falsest of claims ever made against any human being
    • bore the entire boatload of our human sorrows
    • chose life-threatening hunger over feasting all day
    • endured patiently the greatest of fools
    • prayed lovingly for the evilest of enemies
    • spoke kindly to the most hateful of humans
    • remained silent in the face of the vilest of lies and accusations
    • and suffered excruciatingly at the hands of the most hypocritical of authorities.

This is the humble God we celebrate tonight…veiled in the fresh, soft, unscarred human flesh of a baby. 

This is the humble God we rejoice over in a world of darkness and sorrow.

This is the humble God of joy who so surprisingly makes us His joy and so freely shares His joy with all who will welcome Him into their life as Savior and Lord.

Section 3:  Mighty God Hugging Humility on the Cross

Death at its very best is horribly humbling.  If you’ve ever been at the bedside of a dying relative or friend, you know there is little dignity in the process of death.  The dying are utterly dependent upon the living.  The dying are stripped bare of all class, all position, all prestige.  The dying, in the best of circumstances, are utterly weak, utterly devoid of control, utterly helpless. 

            None of those things can be used to describe our Everlasting, Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Sufficient, Eternal God.  Yet every one of them describes Him in His humility on the cross at Calvary. 

            The One and only human being who could have avoided death instead chose humility and death for us.

            The One man who called grave-clothes-bound corpses from the tombs and raised deceased little children from their parent’s grieving arms, this One with all the power of the universe to create life and avoid death, He chose the humility of death. 

            And not any death.  No, He took on himself…for US…the injustice of a rigged sham-trial, the shaming death of torture by whipping, the excruciating suffering of death by crucifixion. 

He chose all these so that you and I could even have the possibility of choosing Him.  He purposefully and willingly embraced death for all of us so that we surprisingly and undeservingly can choose life forever with God. 

The humility of God, empowered and determined by the fervency of His everlasting love for us, marched the babe we celebrate in the manger tonight to the cross and grave we remember every time we taste Communion, every time we confess a sin, every time we see or wear a cross. 

APP:  What are you doing with this humble God tonight?  Have you been drawn to Him, to His amazing humility that moved Him from heaven to earth, from the stable to the cross, and from the grave to Glory? 

            The only appropriate response to this kind of God is faith—complete trust in what His humility has accomplished for us—making peace with the God we have so gravely offended by our selfishness and sin.

            Have you surrendered to this amazing God yet?  If not, why not make this Christmas Eve the starting block of your forever relationship and journey with God?  That relationship starts as simply as any relationship does—with simple communication.  God has already communicated His love to you.  Now it’s your turn to communicate your desire for Him.  [PRAYER]

CLOSE:  We’re going to close this night of wonder with a visible representation of the spiritual light the Christ-child has brought to us.  [CANDLES…as we sing Silent Night.]