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In HOPE - Faculty Publications

  In HOPE 7.35 

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David Timms  

An Idea

Last week I suggested that waiting forms a major part of the Advent story.

Scott, one of the members of our e-community, wrote: "Now I know what I'm going to give Jesus on His birthday...me. We have three Christmases in less than 24 hours, my in-laws on Christmas eve, our home on Christmas morning, and my folks later on in the day. It is definitely a busy time. But there is an hour I can give Him, after the presents are placed out under the tree and the milk and cookies left for Santa are consumed. I'm going to sit in silence from 11:30 to 12:30 on Christmas Eve and wait on Jesus."     

He'll be there.

Hope Happenings

Founded in 1928, the University will celebrate its 84th commencement this Saturday, December 15th. The graduates come from a student body drawn from 27 states and over 40 countries.

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"What we are in fact celebrating is the awe-inspiring humility of God, and no amount of familiarity with the trappings of Christmas should ever blind us to its quiet but explosive significance."  -- J.B. Phillips

Christmas Humility

Christmas pageants, plays, and parades catch our eye. Strings of lights adorn homes and trees. Decorations, displays, gift-wrapped packages, and family gatherings give a festive feel to the season. Radio, television, and print media help turn December into one long celebration (and spending spree).

But the Advent story is steeped in obscurity and humility.

Elizabeth goes into seclusion for the first 5 months of her pregnancy. Zacharias spends over 9 months humbled for his skepticism, unable to speak. Mary and Joseph are certainly not celebrities, nor is Nazareth (their home town) a popular tourist attraction. Jesus Himself takes on the form of mortal humanity, and the most vulnerable form at that - a baby.

No parades, no festivities, no spending, no crowds. Except for a few shepherds one night, Jesus arrives without recognition or accolade. Humility personified.

We might be tempted to minimize the manger. But it expresses something foundational not only to the life of Christ but to our lives, too. Advent throws down the gauntlet to us. Will we "empty ourselves" as Jesus did? Can we too be examples of that Bethlehem birth? Not just once a year, but every day.

Obscurity and humility rankles most of us. Who wants to be unknown and lowly? Who is willing to slip in under the radar in life, and stay there? Few people (including believers) have a heart for anonymity, vulnerability, or authentic humility. Yet the birth of Christ confronts our self-importance.

Christmas humility sounds decidely grinch-like. Might this kill our enjoyment? Just the opposite. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Advent humility calls us to selflessness, obedience, and surrender. Herod, the most powerful and renowned human figure in the story is also the most treacherous and infamous.

May this Advent become a season of greater grace and favor for each of us.




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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2007) at http://www.hiu.edu/inhope/.

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.