Of all the things that are incredible to me about Jesus’ birth there is one that stands out above all others.
I’m mystified by the Virgin Birth – how exactly did that happen?
I’m in wonder at the way Joseph reacted to Mary’s pregnancy.
I’m astounded by the angelic activity.
But more than anything else it is completely unfathomable to me why God chose to come as a baby. Why not just appear as a full grown man? Marching out of the dessert or just suddenly appearing in the Temple? Why not, if he wanted to come quietly, just appear at the shore of Galilee and call the disciples? Why a baby?
Oh, I think I understand, theologically…
He came as a baby because lineage was so important to Jewish people and He had to come from the line of David.
He came as a baby to fulfill prophecy.
But while I understand that theologically, what does being born as a baby mean to me personally?
- He was to go through everything we are to go through. Hebrews 4:15 says that he can EMPHATHIZE, not just sympathize, with my every weakness. He was months in the womb of a woman like me, he came down the birth canal, like me, He was hungry, tired, dependent on other people… like me. He could not have made the claim to empathize with my EVERY weakness had he not been born as a baby.
- He came as a humble baby because he wanted us to know how much he valued humility. We needed to learn (I’m still learning) that in order to have a healthy relationship with Him we must get our significance from Him not from anywhere or anyone else. Think about it, an infant is probably the most dependent being on earth. Maybe that’s why a couple of times in scripture – in Proverbs 3:34 and in James 4:6 God tells us that “He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
If there is one thing I am reminded of with the coming of Jesus as a baby – it’s how much I need to be meek and humble in heart and depend on him. Which is why I identified with I this prayer from Cardinal Merry Del Val, 1865–1930.
From the desire of being praised by others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored by others, deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred, consulted, & approved, except by You, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being passed over deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being lonely, hurt, or of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire that others be loved more than I,
That others be chosen and I set aside,
That others be praised while I serve You unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire this.
Oh Jesus, You who came so meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. strengthen me with your Spirit and teach me your ways.
Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, help me this day to put my self-importance aside and if I be known for anything, let me be known for being totally, dependently and completely Yours.