I’m sitting amongst some serious Weetabix crumbs here, but I feel the urge to get in touch. The crummage I will always have with me… it can wait half an hour.
I’m reading an advent devotion, Love Came Down at Christmas. I know it’s November, but I started early because a) I wanted to be able to recommend it in time for Advent, and b) it might take me two months to read because I’m a genuine failure. But it’s OK, because Jesus succeeds where I fail.
Yesterday I read a chapter about the truth that “love does not boast.” And it got me thinking about how Christmas can be a prime opportunity for boasting. All of the opportunities we have to love people can instead be used to inflate ourselves and say, ‘look how marvellous I am.’ Better still if we can do it in a self-deprecating way – so en vogue. You know how it can go on Social Media/the local toddler group:
“I’m a bit disappointed with my bouche de Noel this year – it’s a little on the dry side.”
“I’m one of those total losers who is ready for Christmas by Black Friday. Maybe I should use Black Friday for next year’s Christmas shopping…”
“My children are so grateful and happy – they’re content with an orange and a new pair of socks each year.”
“Look how well I directed my family Nativity play – the home made costumes worked much better than I expected this year.”
“I just want to bless you all with the amazing Christmas dinner I’ve cooked from scratch, with no help from Marks and Spencer.”
“Sorry your Christmas gifts are a bit rustic; my two year old and I made them together in a bit of a rush.”
Am I making sense, here? I love Christmas – as you well know. If I didn’t despise Santa and all he stands for, you’d be making me don a red cape and calling me Mrs Claus. However, I can easily see how all of these wonderful ways to bless my family and the community can be completely ruined by my own selfish attitude. In fact, selfishness is my default setting. So with each of these things, I need to pray and ask God to help me love people well.
Wouldn’t it be terrible, such a travesty, if I were to abuse Christmas by making it a means of boasting? We’re celebrating (arguably) the most humble act in history. Christ, the glorious King of the universe, the eternal Son of God, by whom all things were made, came down. And he was born in a place you or I wouldn’t sit down in. He was laid in a trough you or I wouldn’t let our children touch. He was welcomed by dirty outcasts on the night of his birth. It’s truly astonishing.
If I really want to celebrate Christmas by showing people Jesus, then humility must be my soundtrack and my heartbeat this Christmas.
“… love… does not draw attention to itself. It deliberately seeks to follow the way of humility – and not in order to show how humble it is!” (Love Came Down at Christmas, p. 50)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8v9.