Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Thursday, December 21 - God With Us

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” — Philippians 2:6-7

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I’ve always been a big fan of the Christmas season, for many reasons. I love the change in seasons and climate, I enjoy the treats and seasonal dishes, I take great delight in the social occasions. I also greatly enjoy Christmas music, ranging from more secular tunes to songs based in telling the Christmas story. This year, I’ve been struck by one song in particular: Carrie Underwood’s version of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” I just can’t get enough of listening to it.

A lot of Christmas songs that detail the story of Christmas focus solely on the birth of Jesus, which is completely justified and entirely worthy of celebration. What I’ve been enjoying about this particular song, though, is how it is written to share the true nature of Jesus Christ — the eternal Son of the Living God — with people. The song contrasts the state of how He entered the earth with who He was in Heaven, unfolding how a miraculous, virgin birth was just the beginning of the miracles Jesus would do in the name of His Father in Heaven.

A few of the lyrics have struck me when listening this year: “Hail the incarnate Deity” and “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.” Each of those lyrics is worthy of being unpacked a bit, as each of them explain the true nature of why Jesus deserves to be celebrated every day. Jesus was so much more than a baby born in a manger. He was “Immanuel” — God with us — in the flesh, with all of its frailties. He came to earth as the Son of God, as the humble son of a poor carpenter. He was “incarnate Deity,” a Holy Being who walked among us to show us how God truly feels about the world and its people. Colossians 1:15-20 was the apostle Paul’s way of describing for all who Jesus was, which only raises the sheer magnificence of how He came.

In my mind, it’s a little easier to comprehend the idea of a holy, omnipotent God coming as a baby than it is to contemplate the humility Jesus showed in giving up His birthright for the sake of creation. Think about your own heart — if you had money, power, influence, infinite connection with love, would you consider laying that aside for people who despised everything you stood for? That’s what Jesus did when He came, as Paul described His coming in Philippians 2:5-7. Jesus came knowing what was going to happen, knowing He would be despised, knowing the world He came to save would attempt to forsake Him. Yet, He still chose to come and shed His blood to act as an eternal, atoning sacrifice for the world and its sin.

Jesus is worthy of being celebrated, praised and honored every single second of our existence here, yet I wonder how often we focus on that? This Christmas, sit down, turn on your favorite streaming service, and allow your favorite singer to croon the story of an infinitely powerful God who humbled Himself to take on the earth’s dusty plains in the weakest form possible, starting a process that shows how infinitely important you are to Him.

— Jon Oglesby

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