Level with Me: Reflections on Philippians 2:1-11

Jesus didn't elevate himself, according to our hymn from Philippians. He came down to our level. And if the Son of God refused to elevate himself, then why would anyone dare to elevate him or herself above others? Jesus came to earth to be level with you and level with me. So why would any of us still keep our eyes cast down, making ourselves lower than our Savior views us?

Oh, I know there are many reasons, but this little baby's hand, now soft and dimpled, one day, callused and strong, reaches down to lift you up. This baby is the leveler. His mother knows it as she rocks him in her arms. He is the son of the God who "has brought down the powerful from their thrones and exalted those of low degree. (Luke 1:46, Mary's Song)"

I invite you to walk closer to the manger. Look at his young mother. Her face is serene but exhausted. Look at his young father, his face firm with a determination to keep his vulnerable young family safe. Look at him, the baby: so tiny, so helpless, level with you, level with me, the Son of God. What a risk he took becoming human, enduring all that you and I have to endure and more!

Each of us faces difficulties and struggles in our lives. We each have moments when we say to God what Uncle Jim said to his doctor. "Level with me, God. What does the future hold for me?" The baby in the manger is your answer. Your future, whatever unexpected blessings and misfortunes it may hold, is in the hands of a God who cared enough to become human.

This God became level with me and level with you. God walks with us. God stands with us all day and evening when our feet are tired and sometimes our spirits are too. God comforts us and lifts us up when we feel down and when we fall down, not just at Christmas, but in the cold days that stretch out beyond it. God inspires us to lift somebody else up when they feel down, when they fall down.

When it comes to "level with me," gospel music singer Guy Penrod's lyric runs through my mind.

He came down to my level
When I couldn't get up to His
With a strong arm He lifted me up
To show me what livin' is
He'll come down to your level if you'll open up the door
He wants to make your life worth livin'
That's what he came down for.

12/2/2022 9:10:34 PM
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  • Alyce McKenzie
    About Alyce McKenzie
    Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.