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Coxy's Christmas Message 2018

A Babe in the Straw

26th December 2018

My friend Gill Prestidge recently wrote a wonderful new Christmas Song called "A Babe in the Straw" and sang it at our carol service. That song inspired me to write this:

Would you like to inherit the earth? Jesus says you can:

Matthew 5:5
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.

That’s a promise.

To be meek is to be humble, gentle and obedient. Perhaps these are not the most popular virtues in society today, but they are godly virtues. God calls us to be meek people: humble, gentle and obedient.

Jesus is our Example in every way, and He is certainly our example in meekness. Jesus obeyed His heavenly Father by coming to earth in human form. He willingly gave up His life in heaven, His comfort, His pleasure, His home and His riches, and became a human baby, out of obedience to the Father. Jesus was born into poverty, and spent his first night in a stable. His first bed was an animals' feeding trough.

Meekness is humility, gentleness and obedience, and it’s also vulnerability. When we’re kind to people who are unkind, when we’re gentle with people who are cruel, when we obey God in the midst of a society that flaunts its disobedience to God's law, we make ourselves vulnerable. We risk mistreatment because we’re different, and we risk mistreatment because we won't fight back.

And Jesus is our Example. He was mistreated, because He was wise, sinless, loving, peaceful and good. When He was mistreated, He didn't fight back.

Isaiah 53:7
He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

If we want the perfect picture of our meek, vulnerable Lord, we can look at the baby in the manger. He was at risk of infection from the animals. He may well have been cold. He couldn’t feed himself. The King of Kings couldn't even control His own bowel movements. Soon after He was born, the stable where He slept was invaded by a bunch of shepherds. Later, King Herod would try to have Him killed.

But was He really vulnerable? God had planned out His life before the beginning of time. Many Old Testament prophets had foretold many of the events of His life, and of His death at the age of 33. God would ensure Jesus fulfilled His plan, so God watched over Him every second of His life. God ensured that Jesus wouldn’t die in the stable, or at the hands of Herod’s death squads.

As we said earlier, Jesus is our Example. He seemed vulnerable, but He was safe because God watched over Him. If we choose to live meek, humble, gentle, obedient lives, then we will seem – and sometimes feel – vulnerable, but God will keep us safe. We will suffer for being children of God, as our Example suffered for being the Son of God. But we will know the love, peace and joy of God, as Jesus did. We will die as Jesus did, although probably not in the same way, and certainly with less pain and with more justice. But we will live with Him in glory for all eternity.

Or we could choose to be the opposite of meek – stroppy, opinionated, proud, rough and disobedient. And then whatever befalls us will be on our own heads.

As I've said a number of times before, obedience must be more blessed that disobedience. Let us choose to seek to live as Jesus lived, to trust our heavenly Father as Jesus trusted Him, to love others as He loved, to be as gentle and humble as Jesus, and see God accomplish great things through us, and for us.

I would rather stand with God and be judged by the world than stand with the world and be judged by God.

May we all find Jesus – the Babe in the Straw, to quote Gill’s song – this Christmas. May we put aside the pride of providing the perfect meal, or giving the perfect present. May we not waste energy looking for the perfect party. May we find a way to help somebody, to be kind to somebody, to forgive somebody, to give something to somebody who won’t pay us back. May we resist the temptation to accumulate more and more things. And may we choose the best gift of all - the love of Jesus Christ, the perfect Saviour. He is meek, humble, gentle and obedient. All the presents in the world are a speck of sand compared to Jesus.

The meek will inherit the earth, because God the Father has decreed it and He will make sure it happens. He will follow through on His promise. We don’t need to fight; we need to live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loved and trust our heavenly Father and Jesus trusted Him.

Mary understood. In her song she sang that God brings down the proud and lifts up the humble.

When Jesus was baptised, God described Him as "My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased". May God be well pleased with me, and with you, this Christmas.