Advent and love’s sacrifice

Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:

“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, my God.’”

First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:5-10

Humility marks the way of love. It looks like a manger which is a feeding trough for animals, and a helpless little baby. Yes, Jesus came in great humility as God becoming flesh, fully human, one of us. This emphasizes just how special human beings are, God’s image bearers in the world. And yet for God to become human was and still is not imaginable, not something we can wrap our minds around and understand. The mystery of the Incarnation is as great as the mystery of the Trinity, as great as the mystery of God.

The text in Hebrews makes the humility of love clear: God prepared a body for the servant, which is an explicit way of describing the Incarnation. And by that body, the servant layed down his life as the sacrifice which once for all does away with sin. Which begins now through forgiveness and a process of being made holy, called sanctification. And someday will be completely realized when sin is no more, so that humans and indeed the entire world can flourish, and be all that God intended humans and the world to be in a dynamic pattern of growth. Which begins now in a humble way.

This is at the heart of what Christmas is all about. God becomes King on earth by becoming one of us no less, and submits himself even to the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-11). The way of love is the way of humility. So that we can know and rest assured that God will meet us in our lowly circumstances, even in our sin, because of the beyond great length to which God has gone and has done that already in and through Jesus. Which can make all the difference in the world now, perhaps that difference not being known or understood until King Jesus returns and God rights every wrong and makes all things new in and through him. A hope in God’s promise we need to hang on to in faith as we seek to follow the way of love’s humility in and through Jesus.

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