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Most humans are impressed by wealth and power. The most popular people in the world, the ones people want to know about and emulate, are the rich and famous, not the simple and ordinary.
But when God himself came to earth as one of us, he didn’t come with grand pomp and glorious ceremony like the Roman emperors or the Persian kings. He arrived in simplicity, in the humblest of surroundings.
Jesus Christ could have arrived amid spectacular displays of heavenly signs, maybe skies filled with lightning or breathtaking meteor showers. His birth could have been accompanied by a worldwide angelic musical crescendo, or marked by magnificent parades of exotic creatures, by sumptuous banquets, and glorious fanfare unlike anything humanity had ever witnessed.
But he didn’t. Instead, he came into the world in the ordinary way with ordinary parents doing the best they could to provide a dry shelter and decent food.
Yes, there was an angelic choir, but it appeared only to a single group of average shepherds in one field. Yes, there were foreign dignitaries bringing gifts, but they had to be given special directions to even find the baby and his parents, and then sneak in and out, without telling anybody they'd been there.
In Jesus, God came to help us, to suffer for us, not to lord it over us in grand style. 1 Peter 2:21-25 tells us:
“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
In Jesus, God has not given us fanfare, fame and fortune, but instead, he has given us true life, life rooted in knowing God for who he really is – as the One who not only made us, but redeems and renews our lives and never stops loving us.
In Jesus, we experience what really matters in life – not an endless struggle for the power and prestige that the world values so much, but true love, joy and peace.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of life.