Do you like Greek poetry? Maybe you do, but you didn’t know it. Philippians 2:6-11 may be the earliest hymn in our Christian history. In truly eloquent style, the Scriptures reveal something absolutely amazing: God gave up His glory for us!
… Christ Jesus … though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men …
The Ruler of the universe gave up His crown for a cradle. And not even a fancy cradle at that, but a nasty manger – which was nothing more than a feeding trough for animals.
An the humiliation of Bethlehem was only the beginning. Christ chose willingly to make Himself “of no reputation.” By the elites He would be considered an absolute fool. For us.
Who but Jesus, the all-wise Creator of all human life, would stoop to wash the smelly feet of His fickle disciples? Who but Jesus, the divine and eternal Word-made-flesh, would willingly step into the temporal limitations of a culture and language? Who but Jesus would willingly choose to clothe His sovereignty in His own naked execution upon a brutal cross? Who but Jesus would take the hit of a cosmic demotion, all for the likes of you and me?
… And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross …
Even the cross was for us. But so would be resurrection.
Where are you this Christmas? Is it a Norman Rockwell moment framed by Neiman Marcus gifts? Or is it more like “I’d love to see the glass half-full but I can’t find my glass”? Either way, or somewhere in between (where most of us hang out on most days), hope is ours in Christ. That is the message of Christmas.
In his Secrets in the Dark, the American writer and theologian Frederick Buechner reminds us that, since Jesus chose to be born in a stable to peasants surrounded by field hands, He will go anywhere. Praise God for that! “And this means that we are never safe, that there is no place where we can hide from God, no place where we are safe from his power to break in two and recreate the human heart, because it is just where he seems most helpless that he is most strong, and just where we least expect him that he comes most fully.”
He will go anywhere. For us. That He has proven. He came “to seek and save the lost.”
Wherever you are, there He is. And He is so good that even our suffering can surprise us.
… Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 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 …
Christ the Savior is born. For us. Merry Christmas!