Come Down for Christmas
Laying Down: The Attitude of Unselfishness
Assess Your Position:
"Being in very nature God..." — Philippians 2:6
This is about our position, our advantages, and our privileges along with our opportunities.
This is what the Son of God did as he considered coming down to earth for the first Christmas. He assessed the prerogatives that were his as one equal with God.
You can assess your prerogatives as well. It’s good to know what they are—the privileges of wealth and position that you either inherited or gain through education or hard work or maybe just chance—being at the right place at the right time.
The Son of God came down to this earth despite the heartache and suffering—in order to rescue us!
Change Your Thinking:
"...Did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage..." — Philippians 2:6
This passage is about the mind of Christ. It’s about you and me having this same mind. Examine his thinking.
We think about so many things at Christmas time. We think about travel to family. Sometimes we have trouble deciding where to go for Christmas. We have too many options.
- Maybe you are considering the decorations. You are deciding to buy a new tree or hang those lights around the house.
- Maybe you are considering the presents you might buy or thinking about buying yourself the biggest Christmas gift of all.
- Maybe you are considering hanging on to all that you have and not giving anything to others. Christmas can be so expensive.
- Maybe you are considering going into credit card debt to make sure that everyone in your family gets everything they want.
The Son of God had no personal needs. He was equal with God. He was sufficient unto himself in every way. There was nothing that anyone could do for him that would make him happier or make his life better. He was living at the maximum level of joy and satisfaction.
But the Son of God saw a need. He knew that people like you and me could never be made right with God on our own. He knew we needed someone who would pay our sin debt so that we could be delivered. He knew a perfect sacrifice was required. He knew we needed a clear and dramatic word from God about his love for us and his way of salvation. He knew we needed to know about God’s love and truth.
So the Son of God considered doing the unthinkable—letting go of the privileges of his divine position, being equal with God. He considered setting aside his omnipotence, his omniscience, and his omnipresence. He considered that these privileges of his position were not to be hung on to.
It might be good to consider your own situation again. Consider the influence that you have. Consider the position and possessions that are yours. Consider just what is really of supreme value to you.
Christmas is a great time to reassess the things that make up your life. How faithful are you to the mind of Christ? Maybe a visit to the manger will change your mind.
Loosen Your Grip:
"...Did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped..." — Philippians 2:6 (NASB)
George Washington astonished the colonies and the world and King George. He stepped down as president of the United States at the end of his second term. He let go of all the privileges and prerogatives of the presidency even though many wanted him to continue in that role and even become king of the new nation. He set an example for our nation and the nations of the earth. He facilitated the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next. On December 23, 1783, General George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Washington addressed the assembled Congress:
“Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which however was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.”
The things we hang on to. Have you been in your attic lately? Do you know what’s up there? Have you gone through your closets? Janet and I have been doing so. I must have two dozen pairs of shoes. Every time I think about getting rid of one of them, I imagine myself needing them sometime, somewhere, for something, even though I have not worn some of them for years. The same is true with shirts and pants and jackets and even tee shirts. The same is also true with influence, position, and power.
The Son of God did not consider his privilege and position something to be grasped. The word here is translated “robbery” in the KJV, “thought it not robbery.” It is the word “to seize,” the act of seizing something. The root means “to catch, to seize, to pull.” The New American Standard Bible translated it, “Did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” I love this phrase. The Son of God did not consider that his equality with God was something to be held on to.
Think of it! He let it go. He rose from the throne of the universe, stepped down from the pinnacle of power. He set aside for a time the crown and scepter. He let go of the greatest and highest position of all.
Why? To descend into Bethlehem as the babe of a peasant couple. To live as a peasant himself—a day laborer like those who wait outside the big box stores for someone to ask for their help. He let go of his divine prerogatives so he could come to earth, let us know who he really is, and make a way for us to be with him forever.