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Art by Shawn Bueche

DECEMBER 23

The Stable

Luke 2:1-7 & Philippians 2:5-11 & 1 Peter 5:5-7

Have you ever stepped into a room or place that felt beneath you? A bathroom so dirty it made you wrinkle up your nose? A bedroom so messy you felt out of place? Imagine what it must have been like for God to leave His heavenly throne and wrap His majesty and glory in human flesh.

Consider the sins you're currently battling that you identified in the "Before You Begin" section of this site.

How are your struggles rooted in pride, or a view that your own desires, needs, and strengths are paramount?

Read Luke 2:1-7

How long had Mary been pregnant when they traveled away from their home to Bethlehem for the census? What about Joseph’s lineage made it so that he had to go to Bethlehem to be registered?

Most modern-day doctors tell pregnant women to stop traveling in the last month of their pregnancy. Mary surely wanted to be at home, preparing and waiting for the child she had been expecting for nine months, but circumstances forced Joseph and a very pregnant Mary to travel to Bethlehem. When Mary finally went into labor, perhaps she thought, Here? Now? I’m going to give birth to the Son of the Most High God—the One who is to take David’s throne—in a stable?

But God does not make mistakes. The anointed King would live a life marked by humility from His very first breath. Not a warm hospital bed, but a cold and dirty manger. Not a crown of gold, but a crown of thorns.

Read Philippians 2:5-11

According to the text, why has God exalted Jesus so highly?

In God’s kingdom, the way up is down. Jesus humbled himself to the lowest level from His very first breath. The only uncreated being faced the lowliest of births. He left heavenly hosts for the company of sinners, left the highest throne for an old wooden cross. He, the highest and most worthy to be praised, washed the feet of the most undeserving.

Look back at those sins you listed at the start of today’s devotional. Are any of your struggles a result of trying to climb up or gain higher status instead of pursuing humility?

Read 1 Peter 5:5-7

What does it look like to clothe yourself in humility? What are the promises in this passage that will help free you up to pursue humility?

Do you know why we have the strength and ability to humble ourselves? Because of Christmas. God, perfect and holy and without need, took on the likeness of men and became a baby. He not only died to set you free from the consequence of your pride, but His Spirit took up residence in your heart. He is now constantly with you and always urging you away from pride and toward humility.