Welcome In The Name Of The Father, Son, And Holy Spirit
5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,
6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Though your Son came to Earth humble and mild as a babe, there was nothing remotely mild about the audacious plan of redemption you set in motion to reconcile rebels like us to yourself. You are bold in your Grace. You are outrageous in your Love, for we are well aware that we are unworthy of your pursuit. We confess our many sins to you Father. We confess that our only hope is Christ Crucified for Sinners of whom we consider ourselves to be foremost. Have mercy on us Father, we know you will because your Son has proclaimed, “It is finished,”
We trust Him.
In your Son’s living name,
It is never our place to think God should humble Himself, yet should He do so, our response is to worship all the more. Philippians 2 inspires worship from world weary hearts.
Keeping Christ in Christmas isn’t so much about correcting somebody who says “Happy Holidays”. Saying “Happy Holidays” is hardly tantamount to a “War on Christmas”. No, what is harmful to the spirit of Christmas is forgetting that our Mighty Christ, the Lord of All That Is, Creator and Sustainer of Heaven and Earth wrapped up all His Eternal Deity into a tiny baby.
What harms Christmas is forgetting He was born to an unwed mother to much tongue wagging, gossip and sinful speculation.
What harms Christmas is forgetting He was cared for and raised by a humble man who obeyed and trusted God in the face of everyone thinking Him a fool.
Can you imagine the taunts? “C’mon Joseph! A Pregnant Virgin?!?!?”
“Nice guys finish last, Joseph.”
“Joseph, if you want to stop being a doormat, get off the floor”
“That girl is taking you for a ride, Joe.”
Yet Joseph was willing to be counted a fool for Christ (1 Corinthians 1).
What is harmful to Christmas is to forget that the Lord’s family did honest work for a living and lived in a back-water town in a back water Roman Colony. They lived in fly over country.
Ever wonder why God has such heart for the least of these? He was the least of these.
A skirmish in the war on Christmas would look something like accidently encouraging children to look forward to Christmas for greedy reasons. The desire to accumulate more and more possessions is the opposite of Christ’s incarnation. Now, were that to happen, accidently or not, that would be at odds with the humble Christ of Philippians 2.
2nd Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.
James Montgomery Boice, long time Pastor of 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia said,
“The meaning of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is this: Jesus Christ became like us in order that we might become like Him. The incarnation was not an end in itself. It was God’s way of coming to us that we might be redeemed from the penalty of sin and then transformed from within into the image of His Son.” (p. 120 An Expositional Commentary Philippians)
Advent is about Christ not thinking equality with God was a thing to be grasped, although He was by right and truth equal to God for He is God. The truth of God the Son’s humility as exhibited through the Incarnation is important because it is only by Holy Humility that the divine ends up being nailed to a Cross for the forgiveness of people who by no means deserve forgiveness. This is the best of news for people like you and I.
The opposite of Christmas is running one another over to get the last shiny thingamagummy fad of the season. Cabbage patch kids. Furbies. Tickle Me Elmos. People are crazy. Christ always knew you were granny-off-her-rocker-nutty and still, nonetheless behold: The Incarnation.
Humility is always in style during this season.
James Montgomery Boice draws a fascinating contrasting comparison, which he calls a Parabola to Christ’s humility in his commentary on Philippians. Boice compares Philippians 2:5-11 with Isaiah 14:13-14.
Isaiah 14 describes some wicked rulers of the day, but it is also describing the powers of darkness behind their thrones. It describes how Lucifer went from being the highest of the Angels to the wretched creature he is at present.
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!
You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’
But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.
This attitude of the enemy is the opposite of Christ’s humility shown from the Manger to the Cross. From Manger to Cross Christ is the suffering servant.
Boice puts it as such,
“Philippians 2:5-11 contains the New Testament counterpart of Satan’s words in Isaiah. These verses have been called the great Parabola of Scripture, for they picture the descent of the Lord Jesus Christ from the highest position in the universe down to His death on the cross, and then carry the mind of the reader up again to see Him seated once more on the throne of His glory before which every knee shall bow.
“I will go up…up…up,” said Satan, “You will be cast down to hell,” God answered. “I will go down to the cross.” Said Jesus. “You will be given the name that is above every name.” said God our heavenly Father.” P. 109 Boice on Philippians
Yes, humility is good, but I am not saying “Be good because Jesus was good.”
There are deeper things going on here in Philippians. Christ’s humility led Him to the Cross, and it is at the Cross that the fountain of life bursts forth from His pierced body. His humility is pointing us all to the Cross, without which we have no possibility of new life, nor humility.
It is around Christmas time that those who have been brought low often hurt the most. We have a savior who was brought low from the highest, yes, the sinless one made the sin bearer for all.
He loves the lowly for He was lowly.
Isaiah 53 says He was, “A man of sorrows, aquainted with grief.”
Oh lowly, lonely cross bearer: recall to your memory that the Scriptures say in Isaiah 53:3 that our Lord was, “A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…” Christmas never hurt us, as it hurt Him.
You see, if you’re weak and barely hanging on. If Christmas is rough for you, or if everyday is rough for you take heart in the 1st and 2nd advent. Jesus’ coming and going and return are good news for you.
A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.