Joy to the World

An unusual hiking trip began in 2011. It was unusual for two reasons. First, it took place in the Himalayan nation of Bhutan; second, the young king of Bhutan was the hiker. His objective was to visit every rural home in the country. King Five, as he is known, is an inspiration to his people and provides a lesson for us about the incarnation of Jesus.

A few years ago, Bhutan shrugged off the modern world’s obsession with economic indicators and introduced a new measure: the Gross National Happiness Index. It is no surprise that it caught the media’s attention because everyone wants to be happy. King Five set out to connect with his subjects so that he could increase their happiness.

Trekking in the mountains of Bhutan is tough; trading heavenly splendor for a smelly stable is an inconceivable sacrifice. Jesus had no special door pass into human life that enabled Him to enter as a grown man. He began as a baby and plodded through all the normal phases: teething, toddling, and teens. Jesus the carpenter probably dealt with difficult customers and slipped with a hammer occasionally. Those phases were part of the incarnation of Jesus, essential for His identification with the human condition, just as miles of mountain hikes helped King Five to understand his subjects. In His incarnation, Jesus visited His people to do more than listen to needs (He already knew their needs); the King of kings stepped in to take action. As the perfect Son of God, Jesus was able to free us from the power of sin and death. King Jesus offers more than happiness; He brings deep and lasting joy to the world.

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)

Paul wrote those words to exhort the church to continue the gracious work of giving to the needy, but the lesson is bigger than that. Our entire lives and ministries should be modeled on the incarnation of Jesus. There is immense spiritual power in sacrificing ourselves to serve others. Celebrities on stages certainly have their place but a different kind of anointing comes with incarnational ministry. When we visit people in their homes, hear their hearts, and serve their needs, we can connect them with all the resources of the throne of God.

Have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!

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