5 Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.
7 But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.
When he found himself in the form of a human,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,
10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow
11 and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phillipians 2: 5-11 (CEB)
Let’s be honest, Christmas Eve is one of the busiest days of the church year, especially for those of us who work in ministry. If you’re a UPSem alum reading this on Christmas Eve my guess is that it could be early in the morning as you prepare for this marathon of a work day or that you could be walking down the hallway between tasks or services or in the middle of your overnight chaplaincy shift reading this on your phone. Or perhaps you are finally finished with your day and reading this in an exhausted yet joyful state at home (and now it’s technically Christmas Day because you got home from church and/or family gatherings so late in the evening).
The Advent season is one where ministers and many church volunteers work well beyond their normal hours. There are more bulletins to proof, more grief to bear with families, candles and greenery to be spruced up each week, Christmas plays, parties and caroling to attend. We know that haven’t been perfect this Advent season. Sometimes we have impatiently and apathetically waited for the Christ child to be born instead of being patient and hopeful. Now is not the time to try to fix what went “wrong” this Advent, nor is it time to brag about how well things went or that (Hallelujah!) we survived, because Christ is coming no matter what. No matter how well our greenery is trimmed, no matter how many or few Christmas eve services we have led, no matter how many parties and pageants we attended (or felt guilty about not attending) this year, Christ is coming.
So before we lay this Advent season of 2015 down to rest, Philippians beckons us to stop and reflect for a moment…
“Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus,” says Philippians (Phil. 2:5, CEB). Christ’s attitude was one of humility and servanthood. His attitude was one of obedience to God’s will and thus all he did gave glory to God. Sure he was given the recognition, the name above all names, but it was SO THAT everyone would give glory to God and profess Christ as Lord.
What has been our attitude towards all of our work and preparations this Advent?
What tends to be our attitude towards our work, our service, our families and all that we fill our time with during the year?
Take a moment to reflect on the attitude of Christ and your attitude this Christmas Eve.
A prayer for this day:
Dear God, You have come to dwell among us and bring your light to all people. Since you came in human form, you know how hard it is for us as humans to be humble and to think of the interests of others before our own. God help us to keep in mind the attitude of Christ who never exploited his position of power but continued to keep an attitude of humility, vulnerability and servanthood from his birth to his death on the cross. May your Spirit empower us to adopt the attitude of Christ and give glory to You with all that we do and all that we are. Amen.
Rev. Allysen Schaaf (M.Div./MACE, 2014)
Decatur Presbyterian Church