Summary: The Humility, Gentlness and Kindess of God was displayed in how he entered this world--as a gently, humble baby who would eventually deal with our sins with the same humility, gentleness and kindness in order to reconcile us to Himself. What an Awesome Savior and God!
Toward a Kinder, Gentler Creation
This month our nation mourned the passing of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States.
The thing that I remember most about the first George Bush was a theme that he wanted to characterize his presidency. He wanted us to be a kinder, gentler nation.
It is such a striking, and perhaps even foreign thought as we consider the current state of political affairs in our country, a time of tremendous division between parties, charges and counter-charges, investigations after investigations, salacious comments and accusation and a general lack of civility between parties with differing an opinions.
As we watched the tributes to President Bush, Jeanie made the interesting comment, I thought, that hardly anyone had anything bad to say about him. And indeed that seemed to be true. Bill Clinton, his political rival who defeated him for the Presidency in 1992 were among those who counted him as friends and eulogized him. I saw the latest Time magazine in which even the last Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev wrote an article remembering Bush as a friend, whose demeanor and intentions led to the dismantling of the Cold War. Obviously, there is something to be said for this president, and all that he accomplished, both in terms of his personal relationships with political opponent and even our nation’s enemies because he made a point of pursuing his ends with gentleness and kindness.
And I think it’s a them we should seriously consider for our own lives, especially as we contemplate that the Advent of Jesus Christ, God’s coming to earth to seek a right relationship with us, epitomizes those very qualities that have commended President Bush’s life and administration to us recently—that somehow there is much to be said for those qualities of gentleness, kindness and even humility as first epitomized by God, in His Creation, and then in His coming—even how He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. How the God-man came to us, as a humility, gentleness and kindness is a model for how we ought to relate to one another, and to him. We need to embrace & rejoice in humble, gentle kindness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
This morning, we get to consider how these great Christ-like qualities were demonstrated as Jesus came into the world, especially in the circumstances surrounding His birth. Because how the God-man entered the world demonstrates also why He came—to reconcile us to Himself and to deal humbly, gently and kindly with what had separated us from him in the first place—our sins.
As we read the story of Christ’s birth this morning, something that it ought to commend to us is the kind of people God associates with—the kind of people that He comes to and makes his home with. What we see is that the kind of people God comes to be with are indeed the very thing God commends to us about himself. They are the kind, the humble and the gentle. So we could say this morning, if we want to experience God, if we want His presence and blessing in our lives, we seek to emulate the humility, gentleness and kindness of the very people to whom God the Father entrusted the upbringing of his Son, Jesus Christ. The kind of people Joseph and Mary were.
As we’ve read, it becomes apparent that some fairly tumultuous events accompanied the birth of Jesus Christ. Caesar Augustus, who ruled in Rome from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D. had decreed that a census, or a registration of every single subject of the Roman Empire, the entire inhabited earth, as its stated here, needed to take place. And Luke, ever the historian, makes it clear precisely when this Census took place, likely it was the first census taken before Quirinius was the governor of Syria, the Roman Province at the time in which Joseph and Mary officially lived.
Now you should note here, that these events are firmly placed in the context of other historical events known to be present at the time, 2000 years ago, surrounding the birth of Christ. It is an established historical fact that both Caesar Augustus and Quirinius were ruling at about the time of the birth of Christ that censuses were taken in the entire Roman Empire by the Romans for the purposes of taxing the nations and the populous which they ruled over. And so what we do not have here is a fairy tale sort of introduction to this story—it does not begin like this, “Once upon a time, in a land far, far away.” No, these events were historical events that according to the writers at the time occurred in the definite historical places, personalities and events that were prevailing at the time of these events. This is no fairy tale—it is historical fact.