Philippians 2:5-8 – In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ 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! (NIV 2011)
My Italian friend, who was a tablemate where I live, loved to play the piano by ear, to the delight of the residents. Her favourite thing to do was to play requests from gathered audiences. On one private occasion, as she played "O Solo Mio", I asked if she had heard the Christian words to that song, written by William E. Booth-Clibborn, grandson of the founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth. "No, I haven't," she replied. "Why don't you sing them for me?" She was genuinely moved by the words, which magnificently characterize the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ in a clear fashion:
- Down from His glory,
Ever living story,
My God and Saviour came,
And Jesus was His name.
Born in a manger,
To His own a stranger,
A man of sorrows, tears and agony.
The child in the manger was the human-divine Son of God born of a virgin named Mary. He is the central figure of the human race, the founder of the Christian church, and the great High Priest who intercedes at the right hand of God for all who believe.
This Advent season, let us remember that it was the Father's pre-determined plan to send His Son into the world for the redemptive purpose of restoring mankind's relationship to Him. This mission was set in motion by Christ's birth and later accomplished by His sacrificial death on the cross and His victory over the grave. Consider this Scripture:
Acts 2:23-24 – God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power. (CEV)
Therefore, the most precious gift we can receive this Christmas — or at any time of the year — is God's immense love and forgiveness. Salvation is available to all who are willing to come to Him. Do you recall the Philippian jailer who released Paul and Silas from prison? He asked:
Acts 16:30-31 – "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved — you and your household." (NIV)
As Christians, salvation is only the beginning of our walk with Him. How then, should we approach the Babe born in Bethlehem so many centuries ago? First, let us re-examine our hearts and acknowledge our sins. Then, let us draw close to Him through His Word, so that our lives will reflect His glory — through humility, forgiveness, and love.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank You that the great Creator became our Saviour. Thank You for granting forgiveness of sins and an inheritance of eternal life for those of us who have been made holy by faith in You. This we pray, in Jesus' name. Amen.