Philippians 2:5-8 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

This Advent season, we patiently await the arrival of hope through Jesus’ birth. The Christmas story is just the beginning of the story of Christ’s life that is one of pure humility and obedience to God’s will. In the coming weeks we will see the image of Jesus as a helpless baby in the middle of a crowded and dirty cave; now is the time to embrace that image as one of humility. This December we have an opportunity to follow His example and humble ourselves to God’s will.

Though Christmas is the story of God humbling himself to become a baby, I have found that the weeks leading to Christmas do not naturally draw me to humility. This Christmas season is a great example of that. So often over the last couple weeks I have been in a “me-centered” mindset, even in the things that are supposed to be about others. I have found that when shopping for Christmas gifts, my mind drifts from the ways I can bless the people I love to the amount of work I have left or how much time I have to commit to buying gifts.

The realization I was more focused on myself that others this Christmas came into focus this Wednesday. We were having a staff Bible study over Luke 2 and I thought to myself, “Am I actually ready to receive Jesus?” My answer was no. Among all of my “me-focus” I could not focus on the God who humbled himself for me or the people he has asked me to serve. Asking the question “am I ready to receive Jesus” has changed my outlook. His radical love reminds me that I am not the only person in this world and allows me to serve others. In the moments since Wednesday where I have changed my outlook and humbly tried to listen to God I have found the joy and peace that is supposed to come with the Christmas season. Humility turned out to be the key to enjoying the season.

We here at Heartland truly believe in the power of giving yourself space to be with the Lord and hear what is wanted of you. So, in the coming days and weeks, we encourage you to create that space in all the Christmas craziness and humbly receive what God wants for you in this season. 1 John 4:19 tells us “We love because he first loved us.” This Advent, let’s embrace our part of Jesus’ narrative and continue to humble ourselves to God’s will and the service of others. By shifting my focus from me to Jesus I have found the true joy and peace of the season.

Family Activity

God shows us how to have humility through Jesus. Read Luke chapter 2. How was Jesus born? Where was he born? Talk about how Jesus’ birth can show us humility.

Read John 13:12-17 and discuss! What does Jesus do here? Why is it important? Talk about how Jesus’ life showed us how to act humble in ours.

Activity: Pay It Forward Challenge

A way to begin acting out humility is to think about others, listen to them, and show them acts of kindness. To turn acts of kindness into a fun game with your kids, have them write down random acts of kindness onto Popsicle sticks, or pieces of paper (for ex, “High five 6 people” or “Write Christmas cards to 3 neighbors”). Write down ten different acts of kindness on Popsicle sticks, or more if you want, and then put them into a cup. Each day, have someone pick one Popsicle stick, read it out loud, and do it to complete the pay it forward challenge. 

By Shelby Voigt and Megan Anderson