Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas: Truly Humbling

Up too late last night wrapping "just a couple" presents with my wife. Up early enough to video record my 2 boys' faces as they waddled out to the living room in their PJs, rubbing their eyes and dropping their toddler jaws upon seeing the presents under the tree for the first time.

That was over an hour ago, my parents are up, stockings have been opened and little toys are being played with. Sarah is working on Christmas Waffles, the train is taking slow laps around the tree and through tunnels made of presents, Pappy is reading the paper by the fire and Michael W. Smith's first Christmas album is filling the air. And the smell of breakfast sausage. After we eat we'll read the Christmas story, thank Jesus and celebrate the Greatest Gift by watching little glimpses of joy on each other's faces as we tear open our gifts that pale in comparison to Jesus Himself.

I posted a tweet December 12th that said:
I'm confused when someone receives a high honor & says that it's humbling. If I'm honored, I must battle pride, my sinfulness humbles me.
One person who responded explained that when we realize that it is truly Christ in us, it is a humbling thing. But I feel like that truth is a few steps away in the thought process. (If someone told you that you looked absolutely beautiful today, I doubt you would react by thinking, "Wow, that was humbling.")

Humble: adjective. having or showing a modest or low estimate of one's own importance

For example, when Steven Curtis Chapman received his 50th Dove award, I'd venture a guess that the Gospel Music Association's intention was to honor him for his contribution, his work, his ministry. Now, Steven knows where his gifts and talents come from and he gives all glory and honor to God. Steven's act of giving all glory and honor to God is the humbling part! He is exalting God above himself, therefore placing himself in a lower position. But it was still an honor he received, make no mistake. It was honoring.

Humble: verb. to lower (someone) in dignity or importance

This may be an issue of semantics, maybe we've become comfortable with receiving honors and saying it was humbling, offering quotes that could show up on @humblebrag. The last thing I want to do when I offer someone a compliment, a gift or an honor is to lower their dignity or importance!

Paul says in Philippians 2 that "Jesus, 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, and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!"

This, in my opinion, is the ultimate humiliation, the ultimate lowering of One's Self. Jesus, the Word Who was in the beginning as God, the Creator of all things, lowered Himself in dignity and importance, being born in an animals' feeding trough to a poor couple in a small, marginalized town.

But the angels sang of His worth.
The shepherds knelt in awe.
Kings from the far East brought priceless gifts to the King of Kings.

James 4:10 screams the truth of this Upside down Kingdom: Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.

King Jesus, allow us to see ourselves truly and humbly, so however You would choose to honor us, we would choose to lower ourselves again by lifting high Your greatness: acknowledging Your worth!

Merry Christmas, my friends.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Our Sunday Break

Yesterday, Sunday, was a big day for our family. I was leading worship at church and needed to be at there around 7:15 in the morning, Sarah was teaching Sunday School on a simple little subject: The Manifestations of God. (That was sarcastic). But given the nature of the Holiday season's busyness, she wasn't able to spend as much time in preparation as she'd have wanted, so she was up quite late Saturday night preparing. She did a fantastic job of course and the worship service was God-honoring, I believe, as the Spirit loves to work through human flesh. Our pastor had been sick all night and again right before the service, and you never would have known it.

We grabbed some Chinese/Sushi after church and brought it home, made a fire and began to unwind. By 3pm we decided it was nap time, the boys had had 3 less hours of sleep than normal the night before and Sarah probably only totaled 3 hours. I set my alarm for a 45 minute cat-nap. And subsequently ignored my alarm. I sprang out of bed over 3 hours later (after dark mind you) feeling a little guilty. I woke the family, tried to explain to my boys why we were waking up when it was dark, re-stoked the fire, Sarah made some Cream of Wheat (Sunday night tradition) and we settled into a family movie night (Toy Story 1). Sarah and I discussed the beauty of the Sunday afternoon much-needed rest, thankful for a lazy day.

Then Nicky fell off the piano bench and fractured his collar bone. We didn't return from Children's Hospital until 2am.

Even though I didn't remotely feel this way when he first fell, what a privilege to take care of my family when they were in need, and how gracious of God to allow us 3 hour naps before our long night began!

Your prayers for Nicky's quick recovery are appreciated! :)