Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Advent and humility

Of course the epitome of humility is our Lord himself, coming "down" into this world and existence, as a human, born in the same way as all humans, living and dying like we all do, though the death of a cross.

Advent also includes a necessary humbling taking place by those who participate in this salvation event. Think of Mary and Joseph. Think of the shepherds and the Magi. Think also of those who refused to humble themselves, like Herod.

In humility Jesus came, and only in humility can we participate in this coming and gift. This will involve prayer on our part to God, acknowledging the truth about ourselves, our sin, and looking to him not only for forgiveness, but for cleansing and change. Humbling ourselves before God needs to be done regularly, especially when we know what is in our hearts is sinful.

When we're mired in our own sins, we have no time or heart for Jesus and God's work in Jesus in our lives and through the community of God in Jesus. Humility starts with the dawning on us that we are wrong and need God's help to be made right with a completely new start. While there needs to be those special "conversions" or clean breaks from a given sin issue- and this is important, at the same time there needs to be smaller conversions along the way. Only then can we be open to believe then see and participate in this great salvation Jesus brought into the world. And begin to learn to live, no less than in the very humility of our Lord himself in this world- together with others in Jesus and for the world. That others may come in faith and see and find this new life.

8 comments:

NaNcY said...

good post!
thank you.

God willing,
i will be away on friday
to return on the 21st.

God bless you,
lots of Love to you and family.
n.

Charity Singleton said...

Humbling thoughts, Ted. In every way, Christ's visit to the earth was humbling. Not only an example for us, but essential to Christ's very mission and purpose. Only a humble God would take on the sins of others.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Thanks, and blessings on you and yours and on your time away.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Charity,
So true. And it ends up being the true exaltation of the Son, as well as our own, in Jesus- as we are saved and become participants in it.

preacherman said...

Ted,
I want you to know that this has been very intesting to me. I am in a non-denominational Church that does not practice advent. So I am really learning a lot from your blog. You have done well being a teacher and teaching me what it means and what it is all about. I want to thank you so much and am learning a lot.

So, what your saying is we humble ourselves because Jesus Christ humbled His own (Philippians2:1-10). Am I right?

Ted M. Gossard said...

Preacherman,
You are most kind, as always.

My background and even present experience is low church, though our church does use some liturgy which I appreciate.

In these posts I'm just trying to see Advent as to its meaning in our lives, really our lives meaning in it (as Eugene Peterson teaches us, along with others).

Thanks.

And good point about Jesus' humbling of himself and our participation (not just following his example, but actual participation in- Scot McKnight) in this humility in this life.

The Walk said...

Humility. That's something I've been praying for and trying to figure out.

You had a post not too long ago about how our fears or problems (and I would add my confusions and questions) can become so big in our minds, they seem even bigger than God. Lately, I've noticed that if I'm just willing to take my fears to a fellow Christian, they seem at least a little smaller. I'm able to get some perspective, or some help carrying my load. But I HATE asking for help! I hate humbling myself in that way.

How helpful it is to remember that our Lord, even, humbled Himself, was the ultimate example of humility.

Ted M. Gossard said...

The Walk,
So true about our Lord. And we need to acknowledge that we ourselves are sinners, never to excuse our sin or any sin, but so that we can be present for each other in ways Scripture/the New Testament, tell us to be.

None of us have it all together, and we all have our flaws, and yes- sins along the way, which we need to deal with before God and sometimes before others.

I do agree so much that it can be helpful to share our problems with a fellow believer, one who is humble themselves. And in Jesus we're all called to this humility as well as to the Christ-like humility to which we're to grow.

Thanks for sharing that.