Being Humble, Rejoice, and Ponder
Given that Luke knew who Jesus is and the earth-shattering consequences of what Jesus has done, one would have thought that, Luke, in writing his Gospel accounts, would be more excited in recounting the birth of Jesus Christ. Luke wrote his account of the Gospel after carefully interviewing and investigating it. He had time to reflect upon the significance of who Christ is and what he has done, but yet in his account of the birth of Jesus, it is remarkably unremarkable.
As we read through this account in our bible reading today, it comes across as very matter-of-factly. It is just Luke laying out the facts of what happened, followed by what happened next. Joseph travelled from Nazareth to Judea, then to Bethlehem because he was from the house of David. (Remember the significance of this from our previous devotional entries.) The account goes on like that, and when it came time for the birth of Jesus Christ, Luke just devoted a few words to it – “and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son”. How much more understated can one be when talking about the birth of the God of the universe coming down as a human being?
This is very likely done on purpose by Luke, to showcase the humility of the circumstances that Jesus Christ was born in. He wasn’t born in a palace, or born surrounded by servants, or even in a proper house. In fact, this also showcases the humility of our God, who condescended to us in such humble manners, coming down to our level as a human being, and born in a manger. How can we be arrogant and proud before such a God?
Our response should be one of rejoicing, like the great company of the heavenly host. They appeared and praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” The shepherds were terrified when an angel appeared to them, but the angels brought them good news that will cause great joy for all the people – the Messiah is born in the town of David! Rejoice and praise God indeed! The shepherds did what anyone would have done after this – they set out to look for this Messiah. When the shepherds told everyone about the baby in the manger, everyone was amazed.
However, Mary, the mother of Jesus, did something that many of us have glossed over in our Bible reading – she “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (v18) Mary raised Jesus up as his earthly mother, nurtured him through his boyhood and teenage years. She could have easily taken for granted that Jesus was the Messiah throughout those years. But she did not. She “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Do you?
As Christians, many of us celebrate Christmas year after year. The longer that we have done that, the easier it is for us to take for granted this monumental news of God coming as a human being in Christ. Let us not do that, and treasure all these things and ponder them in our hearts. Let us never lose the wonder and marvel of what God has done for us in Christ this Christmas.
- Pray that God through his Spirit will help us never to lose the marvel of the incarnation
- Pray that we will learn to be humble just like God, and rejoice like the angels in heaven in our daily lives