Common: everyday, familiar, ordinary, ubiquitous, usual
Uncommon: Extraordinary, phenomenal, rare, exceptional, unusual, unique
We all want to be a person with purpose. Weighting these terms in my mind– hands down, Uncommon wins every time. Who wouldn’t want to be known as extraordinary, rare, or exceptional? These terms describe impactful people. Me? I’m common. My name, home, job are all common. Our family, we’re pretty common living our day-to-day life. If you’re reading this – you’re probably common too.
This time of year, is uncommon, which is exactly why it is my favorite. I adore its unique appeal that draws the most unlikely people into random acts of kindness. Love and goodwill bursts – It. Is. Uncommon.
I love opening my Bible to the book of Luke and reading the birth of our Savior, and relishing how it effortlessly shifts our gaze from the common commercialization of the season onto the uncommon gift of our Lord.
Summing it up – The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her she was going to become pregnant in the most uncommon way.
Although Jesus’ conception was immaculate, everything else surrounding his birth, to the onlooker, appeared common, a truth that caused many to doubt and think – he was just a common man.
Sometimes we scratch our head and wonder – how could they miss it? But honestly, I can’t blame them. Their view of a King was much the same as ours. We’re conditioned to view them as; austere, unapproachable, formal and off limits, highly regarded, and esteemed.
Jesus is the King of Kings. He is God robed in the flesh. God is the Creator, the One who spoke all things into existence, shaped the majestic mountains, and placed the stars in the sky. He is the reason we are here, worthy of extravagant declaration, yet chose a seemingly quiet, unnoticed entrance.
None of his arrival makes sense. It all seems too common, and causes us to think how can it be? Why would the Savior of the world come in such a way? We battle this truth with our thoughts of inadequacy, and low self-worth thinking we’re just too common.
Or are we?
When we look at his birth, and accept the truth of what it shows, this misconception of our mind is revealed and the quiet warmth of our Heavenly King wraps us in His gentle arms as our Heavenly Father.
Let’s look for a moment
The King of all Kings deserved a throne of royalty and a bed of luxury, yet chose a manger for a bed.
The Glorious Lord of all deserved a pristine place of delivery, but instead chose a quiet, unnoticed, dirty stable.
The God of all, deserved royal courts to declare His arrival – yet, he chose shepherds, those with unenviable social status.
He could have stepped into the mightiest city, but chose Bethlehem, a city of small size, insignificant to most.
He could have tied His name to a place of nobility, yet He tied his to Nazareth, John 1:46, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”
He could have selected a name that no one had ever taken, but he didn’t – He chose Jesus, a common name of the time – and He transformed it to the only name that Saves, the name that will cause every knee to bow, and every tongue to confess – that Jesus Christ is Lord.
He took all these things, all common things that through His presence transformed into the uncommon.
He could have come like a storm, stepped out in triumph, split the skies, rode in on a mighty stallion, declared his sovereignty and made His entrance undeniable – but he didn’t.
He didn’t on purpose, because the God we serve isn’t an unapproachable King who forces his subjects to worship him. Instead, He’s the King who honors our free will and provides a pattern for us to follow. A pattern that if we are willing -reveals to us His amazing ability to shift our minds away from the common thoughts of this world. The one that says your nothing special, your marriage won’t last, you leave no impact, need medicine to fall asleep, a drink to make you feel, relationship to prove worth, position to feel validated – and he places our mind on Heavenly things that lead us to a place of uncommon existence.
What type of uncommon existence?
A place where our character is changed, and who we are to those around us shifts to hope, kindness, generosity – goodness. A place where our home becomes a beckon of love, a refuge of warmth and security. A place where our job is no longer mundane or common – but a ministry of light to those around us. A place where what we think about ourselves to be so common, becomes a source of love that creates an overflow and pours from us into the lives of others. Which is exactly what Jesus did so many years ago, and is exactly the purpose of our celebration today. The details of Jesus’ arrival are purposeful, speaking volumes of the approachable availability of our God, the One who takes common, insignificant, everyday things, and changes them into miraculous, powerful, significant, and rare.
And that’s the thing about this time of year, the thing that we need to sit and ponder like Mary did, the day Jesus came as a selfless gift for all mankind which demonstrated His character in His use of the manger, stable, shepherds, Bethlehem, Nazareth.
What’s the connection?
It’s the thing that tells those of us that feel pretty common, dirty and unnoticed, whose social status isn’t all that enviable, who question, “Why would the Savior of the world want to take up residence in my small insignificant life?” and may have even fee like those around them have wondered “Can any good thing come out of me?” that there is hope.
It’s the message of this time of year, and the gift of Jesus revealed to the world that tells us his purpose is US, and speaks of His desire to take common people like you and me, the ones with family issues, flawed personalities, broken hearts, iniquity, bad habits, addictions, seeming misfits, unnoticed, questioning value, etc – to take our broken common pieces – and then through his presence change us into the uncommon. Choose Him.