A War Cry: A Baby - Luke 2:1-7 (HIUMC)


Our war march began in Bethlehem.  We recognized that this little town is more than a sleepy little village of Christmas cards and carols, and holds a very dark history—a history of idolatry and betrayal, a history of prejudice and brutality, a history of violence and death.  When the Lord of all Creation decided to take on sin and evil once and for all, He entered on front lines—He entered this town plagued with its diminutive size and its past.  In doing so, God says to each of us, “there is no place that is too small and no place too dark for Me to enter in and bring light, hope, and victory.”
As we continued, we discovered Mary—not the Mary that so many young girls volunteer to be in all her splendor and glory in the popular Christmas pageants—but the real Mary, a scared, hesitant volunteer in God’s battle plan.  A young thirteen year old girl who risked and was rejected by family and her community, and possibly narrowly escaped stoning, as she found herself unwed and pregnant.  Her only refuge, an older cousin and her husband, who were in the midst of their own holy pregnancy, a fiancé that had at one point decided to abandon her—but moved up the wedding date and married her early, and the power of the Holy Spirit filling her with the assurance that she was bearing God’s rescue plan to the world.
The fiancé turned husband, Joseph, after His own divine “war council,” agreed to enter into this plan to bring God’s salvation into the world and in doing so placed his reputation, financial security, and family relations on the line.  The rejection of his family in Bethlehem, relegating he, his laboring wife, and his son-to-be-born stepson to the filthy family stable proved that sometimes the worst case scenario does play out.  Yet when it does, we can be assured that it will not prevent God from brining his plan and glory into the world.
Humiliation from the beginning…
Can you imagine…
…having created the first of humanity from the dust of the ground, breathing into that man the very breath that gave him life…being the one who knits together each life in their mother’s womb…now finding Himself clinging to life, tied to an umbilical cord that pumps the same life force He created into Him, and traveling that same canal that gives birth to each life, He, the Breather of life, gasping for His own first breath with a cry…
…having spoken the lush green Garden of Eden into existence…with its pristine clear waters and deep blue skies finding Himself laid in the feeding trough of animals in a cave that was filled with the odor of sweating animals and their waste?
…having provided quail and manna in the desert to His people who were starving to needing to suckle at Mary’s bosom for nourishment?
…having been seated in the holy throne room, in the midst of all the angels singing praises to His Name because His holiness radiated pure light to finding Himself dependent upon having His soiled garments changed and being cleaned up by hands other than His own…
Can you imagine anything more humiliating?
Humiliation to the end…
Can you imagine…
…having brought the waters of the Red Sea crashing down upon Pharaoh and his army standing before the judgment seat of Governor Pilate…
…having been the One who brought Gideon and his three hundred men victory over the Midianites and Amalekites who were as “countless as the sand on the seashore,”[i] being beaten and whipped by a couple of Roman soldiers until His flesh hung loose.
…having worn a crown made up of the light of the stars of the skies having His brow pierced by a crown of thorns forced upon His head as soldiers spit on Him and mock His reign.
…having been the One who put enough strength in the arms of Samson to bring down the pagan house upon the Philistines having His arms stretched out and nailed to a cross.
Can you imagine anything more humiliating?
As Paul wrote to the Church in Philippi:
…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.[ii]
Born in a barn…
Raised by a carpenter…
Eating with tax collectors, prostitutes, and other sinners…
Touching lepers…
Washing feet…
Dying with two thieves…
The Great ‘I Am’ enduring humiliation to bring us salvation.
If the God of the universe is willing to undergo that kind of humiliation from the stable to the cross to bring us salvation, what are we willing to endure to join Him as He continues to wage war in our world?  Paul, as he reflected on the humility of Christ, preceded those verses by saying, “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.”[iii]
Are we willing to come out of our homes and offices to sit, not with a business owner or city official, but to dine with the homeless?
Are we willing to cheerfully complete any task offered us, whether it uses our specific skills or talents, or is something others would consider menial work that anyone could do?  Are we willing to wipe noses and bottoms, take out trash, roll silverware, or do whatever needs doing?
Are we willing to have our character questioned and motives discerned?
Can we say, with the Psalmist, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house [simply tasked with serving amongst the beggars] of my God than live in the tents of wickedness…”[iv]?
This morning our Savior, who was born in a barn, ate with sinners, and died upon a cross, invites us to come and join Him in his humiliation and commit our lives to serving Him not only wherever He may send us, but however, He may ask.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.






[i] Judges 7:12
[ii] Philippians 2:6-8
[iii] Philippians 2:5
[iv] Psalm 84:10

Popular posts from this blog

Who Are We? A Royal Priesthood - 1st Peter 2:9-10 (Sermon from 02/15)

Giving Up Judgment For Good - Matthew 7:1-5 - Wednesday Night Reflection

Don’t Be A Decoy - Romans 12:9-21 (Wednesday Night Reflection)