Culture shock is an ever-present reality in my life. One of the biggest things you have to get used to in another culture and language is feeling humbled. Many of the things I grew up learning how to do are done completely differently in another culture. First and foremost, there's the simple task of speaking (in another language). Then there are things like eating schedules, different ways to clean a house, different ways to prepare meals, communicating in a less direct kind of way, learning to wait a little longer than you're used to, and the list goes on and on. You start to feel a little incompetent at best and like a helpless child at worst.
Yesterday I heard the verse Philippians 2:8 read at church: "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." This verse and the rest of Philippians 2 made me reflect on the culture shock Jesus had to deal with. I can't even imagine. At least when you move from one country to another, you're still living in a broken sinful world, and people generally act the same since we all have the same human nature. But imagine living in the beauty of heaven in perfect harmony with everyone and having all divine powers and then coming to earth, being born in a stable, dealing with humans on a daily basis, and then being put to death by the very people you came to save! Now THAT would be a real shock!
Praise Jesus that he loves us so much that he was willing to do it. Praise him that "he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil. 2:6). Praise God that Jesus has been exalted so that "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-10).
As Advent approaches, let us be mindful of how Jesus humbled himself and joined our sinful culture so he could save us. Let us remember that "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses" (Hebrews 4:15) -- even culture shock.
"I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you my be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."