Scripture

Philippians 2:1-11

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

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!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Reflection

In our consumer-driven culture, especially at Christmas time, we tend to think that life and faith are primarily about us, about saving ourselves, about getting our needs met, about getting what we want. The idea of a personal savior is a relatively new one in history, and it is a helpful part of our theology. At the same time, we often focus too much on the personal, individual part of salvation. Jesus came to save you and me, but Jesus also came to save all of creation. We are but a small part of that. Rick Warren began his record-breaking book, The Purpose-Driven Life with one important sentence, “It’s not about you.” That is like a slap in the face to most of us!  We all like to think the world is here for our purposes, right?

 

The reality is, however, that we are here for God’s purposes. In fact, a self-centered approach is the complete opposite of the life God calls us to. Our salvation is important, but what we do with our saved life is what can make a real difference in God’s economy. This Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of one who offered himself for the sake of all creation, reflect on the all-powerful God who chose to come to earth in the form of a helpless infant. This is what we celebrate at Christmas. It is not about me. 

Prayer

Holy One, you call me to be better. You ask me to live in such a way that points to you. Forgive me for failing. Give me guidance and courage to be a light in the world. Show me those who need your mercy, compassion and justice, then lead in ways to serve them. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.