And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)
When one imagines God, one thinks of an all-powerful, mighty God, with lightning in his fingertips and thunder as the sound of his voice. Although all of that is true and God’s power is immense and incomprehensible, it is hard to imagine that that same God was born in a dirty manger, among filthy and noisy barn animals. He did not have an extravagant entrance into the world. He was not born in a palace among kings and queens, princes and princesses. His mother was a poor girl with no distinct relations to famous royalty or anything of that sense. The King of kings came to us in a manger, which conveys to us this amazing message: the transcendent God condescended to come to us. God humbled himself to our level to show us how accessible and available He is; there are no palace gates to separate us from Him. In His birth, we can learn that one must humble one’s self to others in order to serve and to love. If the Lord of lords served us, we must also follow in his example by:
1. Thinking less about our needs and comforts and more about others. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Jesus completely disregarded Himself and thought of us first. He chose a lowly entrance to show his intent to become closer to us over a flashy, comfortable birth. This shows us that when humbling ourselves, we must sacrifice our own comfort to meet the needs of others. If Jesus decided that He was going to be born in a rich royal household, would all his followers feel the same closeness to him as when He was one of them?
2. One cannot serve without humility. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Romans 12:16)
If Jesus didn’t condescend to our level, would he have been willing to serve us? Because Jesus is humble, loving, and accepting, He is willing to stoop down to our level in order to save us. This lays out an example that we should follow. We should not be ashamed or reluctant to serve people even if it means we have to put aside our ego and pride. If God is willing, why can’t we?
3. One cannot attain humility without love. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)
What is Jesus’ motive to do all these things for us, from his birth to his death and resurrection? It is love. Because He loves us, God sent us his only son. His only son humbled Himself down to his own creation out of love. We must also humble ourselves for others out of our love for them. Without love, we will find no need to be modest and we will strive to be better than everyone else but with love we will be humble, gentle and patient with one another just as St. Paul says in the book of Ephesians.
Our Almighty God was born in a manger, teaching us a wonderful lesson about humility. His modesty brought all His followers closer to Him and made them strengthen their relationship with Him as they felt as if He was one of them. Through Christ’s modest birth, He teaches us that without humility one cannot serve and become selfless and that humility is a product of love.