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Like Us

Greetings friends!

The blog took a bit of a break during November, but we’re back to celebrate this season of waiting and anticipation together in Advent. Thanks for tuning in!

I mentioned in my Spire article this month that in that barn in Bethlehem so many years ago, Jesus Christ showed up as God’s way of being like us. I thought that was something that deserved a little bit of unpacking. And for that, let us turn to Philippians:

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing, by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself, by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)

I’m trying to wrap my head around how absolutely revolutionary this would have been at the time Paul wrote it. In his day, gods were impersonal, invisible, etherial beings that rarely, if ever, interacted with humans. Even the God of Israel wouldn’t show his face to people, because it might legitimately kill them (Exodus 33:19-20). Think of how impersonal that is! Gods couldn’t tell you what heartbreak felt like. Gods couldn’t tell you what pain was. Gods couldn’t share in our human experience.

But the God of the universe can, because God shows up in the stable as a human. Fully human, fully divine, Jesus Christ would come to know exactly what heartbreak was like. He would know what it was like to have no one believe him. He would know the pain of losing a parent. He would know the indignity of a dear friends betrayal. He would know the sure and stingingly loss of a friend far too soon. I’ll even bet Jesus knew the feeling of the common cold. I’ll bet he skinned his knee playing with friends as a kid. Jesus knows what it’s like to be human, because he was one.

I don’t know about you, but for me that brings about a little bit of peace. When I’m praying in my more difficult moments, I’m praying to someone who has been there. I’m praying to someone who knows my pain. I’m praying to someone who not only created these emotions and experiences, but felt them. It’s like the kids are saying these days, he gets me.

So this Advent, we celebrate a God who shows up in the stink of a stable to be like us. A God who gets us. A God who knows us. A God who is us. And more than that, we celebrate a God who was, is, and will continue to be, with us.

But we’ll have more on that next week!

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