“‘And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” [Luke 2:12-14, ESV]
In all seriousness, God is a funny guy. He loves irony. A host of angels came to announce the birth of Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, not to the masses of Jerusalem or the royal leaders of the kingdom, but rather to a bunch of humble sheep herders in the country. To throw a cherry on top, the sweet scents of barnyard hay with a strong influence of animal dung would accompany His coronation as He laid on a throne of animal slop.
As illustrated in the way He chose to enter the world, God’s motives and make-up are so completely opposite from anything related to arrogance that He went to great lengths to disassociate with it. Yet throughout my life, the biggest inhibitor towards building a relationship with the Lord has been my arrogance.
I used to think that He could not deal with my crap. My insecurities, addictions, and fears were all mountains that I pledged to climb alone. I thought that after I made myself holy, I could finally be the perfect Christian boy that I was supposed to be. But until then, I found it pointless to try to build a relationship with the Ruler of the universe.
I felt like one of two things had to happen before I could start talking to and listening to God each day. My first choice was to completely fix myself so that I didn’t have to lay in bed each night and explain to Him why I had slipped up so many times. Secondly, I could wait for Gabriel, the mighty angel, to appear to me in a dream and anoint my forehead with holy oil so that I would never sin again. Funny thing is the second scenario is no more ludicrous than the first.
It’s all a lie from the pit of hell. I serve a God who slept in a feeding trough as a baby, hung out with scumbags throughout his life, rode a donkey through town amongst great adoration, and one week later surrendered to be nailed to a cross, bloodied and naked. If anyone has the right to be arrogant, it is Him. He has seen it all. He can deal with it. The very reason Jesus died was to be able to be in the midst of my battle. My relationship with God changed when I decided to stop being so arrogant and realized that He wants to be there to fight those battles.
As Christmas approaches, I think it’s important to take time to simply thank God for life as it is in this very moment. Whether it’s the economy, my seemingly never-ending singleness, or the torture that is Dallas traffic, I always have reasons to complain.
I am severely lacking physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally compared to where I thought I would be as a 30-year old man, but the bottom line is:
Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, Lord, for the journey and the relationship that we walk through together. Thank you that the arrogance of my past is no match in comparison to your plans for my future.
Most of all, thank you for leaving Paradise to enter a sinful world, so that no matter the size of my imperfection, I can run to You.
*Photo credit: andrewmalone