Monday, December 15, 2008

"pleased as man with man to dwell"

(alternate title: "pleased with us as flesh to dwell")

"in bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. so Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, 'I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises." and again, 'I will put my trust in him.' and again he says, 'here am I, and the children God has given me.' ...for this reason he had to be made like his brothers and sisters in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted."
(hebrews 2.10-13, 17-18)

how often do we jump at the chance to be sacrificial? i would say there are some sacrificial things i am willing enough to do (babysitting to help out, listening when someone is hurting, cleaning up) and other things i would rather go to the dentist than do (making someone a meal tops that list!). but being "sacrificial" doesn't mean do something you love doing (although it is nice if it works out that way); in fact, part of the sacrifice might mean you do it because it needs doing, not because you love to do it.

as a mom, of course, i make a lot of sacrifices. i've been trying to figure out a way to communicate to my daughters that being a part of a family means serving each other even if you don't feel like it. i want them to know that i don't always enjoy cooking, cleaning, folding laundry, etc., but i do it because i love them. they will be better off if they can learn to have a spirit of sacrifice out of love for others as well.

of course, Jesus made the greatest sacrifice of all. i love to think about Jesus being excited to take on flesh and become one of us. the Bible doesn't say that specifically but at least we learn he isn't ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. hebrews tells us why it was so important for Jesus to become a man among us.

have you ever thought about what we gain because Jesus sacrificed his status in heaven to become one of us? we not only have a high priest at God's right hand interceding for us, we received a high priest who has experienced incredible temptation. he knows how hard this life can be for us and how tempting some pretty bad behaviors can be.

for some reason, Christmas can be one of the hardest seasons for me to feel sacrificial. i get a very bad case of "i want it." i look at what other people are getting for christmas: i want it. i think about all the things that i don't have and can't afford: i want it. i look at the ads for the latest and greatest with the newest modifications: i want it. but Jesus didn't say "i want it." he gave up everything, even his life, for us. i want to change my "i want it" attitude to be more like Jesus. what can i sacrifice or give up for someone else this advent season? please, God. open a door for me to share with someone else. help me to want what you want.

for the kids: how do they feel when they have to do something for someone else? is it easier to serve someone outside their family or someone within their family? is it easier to serve knowing there is a reward or with no reward? talk about the sacrifice that Jesus made. what kind of reward did he expect? talk to them about the kind of love that Jesus had for them to sacrifice his life and his status in heaven for them. for a project, i thought it might be neat to do a replica of the high priest's breastplate (for a simple version, look here). otherwise, make a small bowl out of clay or playdough and glue a scrap of towel in it to remind ourselves that Jesus came to serve us sacrificially and we can do the same this advent season.

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