Image via Pixabay
Last year, as we navigated Christmas with COVID, I came across the song “Hope for Everyone” by Matt Maher.
It was a couple of years old at that point, but it was new to me. It is simple, catchy, and yet has a richness that spoke to where I was at, which caused it to hit me profoundly. I played it on repeat throughout last December, and have found myself doing so again this year.
If you don’t know it, please have a listen and enjoy:
Last year, it was the idea of the hope of God in Christ that hit me – whatever we were going through, whatever 2020 had brought us, whatever we were carrying, the message was the same: in the Christ child, a true and living Hope had entered the world, with an invitation sent out to everyone to experience God through Him.
This year, I find myself more drawn to one specific line in the chorus that describes what God did in Christ:
“Bending low to be among us.”
There is something beautifully clear about these words when it comes to the Christmas story.
In Christ, God left Heaven behind.
In Christ, God left comfort and divine rights and privilege behind.
In Christ, God left peace and safety behind.
Hear the Word of the Lord:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming 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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Many scholars believe that verses 6 – 11 were actually a hymn, a worship song of the early Church that Paul was either quoting or perhaps even had written himself.
In the nativity, the glory and majesty of God collide with the weakness and lowliness of man, and the Child who arises from this collision is the One arrived to save us all.
The exalted God emptied Himself, lowered Himself, made Himself nothing – out of His great love for us.
The omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Almighty God humbled Himself. He bent low to be among us.
And the first line of this Philippians passage (and the few verses preceding it) tell us that this miraculous thing that has happened should affect how we treat one another.
If God can humble Himself, we must too. We are not greater than God.
If God can lower Himself to serve others, we must too. We are not greater than God.
If God can put others first and sacrifice His divine rights and privileges for their sake, we must too. We are not greater than God.
If God can empty Himself, we must too. We are not greater than God.
In Christ, God bent low to the earth and walked among us, ultimately sacrificing His own life for our sake.
In the face of such stunning humility and sacrifice from the One who was perfectly entitled and deserving to know no humility or sacrifice, we respond appropriately with worship and with gratitude and with awe.
But we also respond with imitation, to walk in the way of Christ, as we are required to do if we would call ourselves Christ-followers (1Jn 2.6). We allow His example to inspire us to similar humility and sacrifice towards one another.
Because Christ bent low, we His followers are also people who will bend low. Just as Jesus showed the world what true love and sacrifice for others looks like, we His followers will do the same, showing the world what these qualities look like, and glorifying Him with thanksgiving as we do.
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