The Lowliness of God
What picture comes to mind when you hear this phrase: a homeless refugee with a price on his head? That description fits the baby Jesus held tightly by his parents fleeing in the night to faraway Egypt. Political refugees, they ran to save Jesus' life from the political oppression of Herod. (Matthew for Everyone, N.T. Wright, p. 14)
The above phrase (thank you, NT Wright) helps us ponder the “lowliness” of God. God is high and mighty but not the kind of high and mighty that is snobbish. God is not like human dignitaries (what we call “rock stars” today) who don’t normally hang out with average people. It’s important to “understand both the lowliness of God's greatness and the greatness of God's lowliness...God's dignity and greatness are seen precisely in his lowliness and accessibility to all." God is not too busy, too conscious of his status or too high up to communicate with us. Yet it’s hard for us to adequately understand the lowliness of God, of how God’s greatness is precisely what makes God able, available and ready to hear and speak personally with us (Hearing God, Dallas Willard, pp. 67-68, 72).
Advent helps us understand the lowliness of God because God became “lowly,” a human being like us, through Jesus. And Jesus’ lowliness persisted as he lived in obscurity in Nazareth in submission to his parents for so long. There’s a saying that once you get a boy off the farm and into the city, you’ll never get him back on the farm, but not so with Jesus. Even after his stimulating question and answer session astounded the teachers in the temple at the age of twelve, he willingly went back to his little hometown and submitted to his parent(s) and fulfilled the obligations of an oldest son for eighteen more years (Luke 2:46). During that time, the Savior of the World spent his days building chairs, beds, storage chests, oxen yokes and even village homes. He could do everyday tasks and commercial endeavors “to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). (Invitation to the Jesus Life, p. 178)
The incarnation of God in humanity (advent) reveals the beauty and humility of our God who likes to just plain be with us. Enjoy God’s companionship everyday.