Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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. (Philippians 2:5-11- NIV)
This may not be a typical Christmas story but I believe that its message is what Christmas is all about: love that knows no limit. Why would the Almighty God come and be born like a pauper or choose to become human in the first place? Leaving his heavenly glory and coming into the world was humiliating enough; why then didn’t Jesus Christ choose the best of this world in which to be born? He could have chosen the best palace and the best facilities at that time. If there wasn’t any worthy of his temporary residency, he could have created one – and yes named it after himself (I am now beginning to think like an African chief)
I come from a culture where leaders (or should I say rulers), even those in the Christian circles, demand that “every knee bows” to them and every tongue declares how great and indispensable they are. And they demand such treatment here and now. This will is so unlike Jesus Christ who was a servant right from the word go. For him it wasn’t a one off kind of thing that many of us do to our subordinates but his was a lifestyle. He was born as a servant and lived as such. In fact that is the reason he came–“to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
So, when the Bible says that our “attitude should be like that of Christ, that is a bar set really high for us. For starters none of us is God (although some of us want to be treated as gods), so we really have very little to lose by living humbly. But we all know that humility is a very tough virtue, especially if Jesus Christ is our standard. It takes God for us to do what God can do. This is called grace.
The creator subjected himself to creation. I find some of the Christmas songs and pictures interesting: you know the cattle rowing and baby Jesus fully awake but not crying. Every nursing mum must envy Mary. Who wouldn’t want to have such a baby? But come to think of it: Jesus was a normal kid and he must have done what normal kids do. He entered into our human experiences so that he could save us from our predicament. He did not only fully participate in our humanity but he did for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. He, the sinless Son of God, died the most painful and humiliating death: death on the cross. Someone said that Jesus` birth in a manger was a precursor of the cross.
And yes, before you are tempted to think that he is a harmless little baby in a manger, remember that this Jesus Christ is God exalted…worthy of our worship and devotion. He has been exalted and given the name above every other name. By the way that’s God’s principle: he opposes the proud but exalts the humble. Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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 (Philippians 2:11)
May this Christmas remind us of the cross of Jesus Christ. May this Christmas remind us of the indescribable love and grace of God demonstrated by the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. May We be encouraged to be more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ. Merry Christmas!!