Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-18 NIV
For many of us, the Christmas season can be filled with conflict and stress. Deep down we may attempt to think about the Lord and His gift of a Savior, but somehow our focus seems to shift. The sobering reality is that many times the real source of our conflicts can be traced back to the pride and ego lurking inside the human heart. However, this Christmas conflict is nothing new. In fact, the conflict between humility vs. pride was present in the very first Christmas season.
The passages in Matthew 2:13–18 contain two very different responses to the birth of Jesus Christ. On one hand you have the response of a foolish king who was disgraced by his arrogance and pride. On the other hand you have a group of wise men and a young father who responded to the leadership of the Lord in humility and obedience. One event. Two very different responses. It’s a classic example of humility vs. pride which is ultimately a battle that takes place in our own hearts everyday. As C.S. Lewis writes, “There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and which hardly any people ever imagine that they are guilty themselves… The vice I am talking of is PRIDE.”
Go back and read Matthew 2:14 and 16. Notice how Joseph immediately responded to the instructions of the Lord. It required both humility and faith on the part of Joseph to believe in the virgin birth, to believe that God was coming to His people in the form of a baby, to believe that Jesus would become the Savior, and to continue to follow in obedience at every twist and turn of the narrative as it unfolded in real time. In contrast, notice how King Herod’s response to the birth of Jesus was marked by pride and egotism. King Herod could not even tolerate the thought of another king and ended up murdering hundreds of baby boys, his own wife, and three of his own sons out of fear of a threat to his leadership! Herod is a clear example of how pride leads us to blow things way out of proportion, makes us vengeful and hateful, and causes us to become completely irrational.
Just imagine how this Christmas season could be different if you committed to walk in renewed levels of humility. In what areas of your life do you need to let go of pride and replace it with simple obedience to Jesus? What conflicts could Jesus resolve through your embrace of humility?