There is an astonishing revelation at the core of the Christian Christmas. It states that an eternal, all-powerful, supreme God became a human baby, grew up as a human boy maturing into a human man.
Because this proposition has been around for over 2000 years its flabbergasting nature can be forgotten. But there it is at the heart of the festival we mark each December.
If you look at the drama of the Son of God becoming the Son of Mary and calling himself the Son of Man, a truth that must tumble out is that you will see, not just any human, but the perfect human, the ideal human, humanity as we are meant to be.
I’m trying to document that drama in the nearly 600 editions of my weekly so cannot summarize the complete picture in one, but I can point you to a couple of features of the humanity displayed in the Christmas mindset which Paul describes in his letter to Philippi. Here we go.
First, Paul tells you that Jesus’ humanity was hallmarked by humility. To be accurate he humbled himself.
It’s helpful to note what humility is not as you look at the Son of Man. Humility is not modesty. The Son of Man was not modest. He revealed his nature, his power, his claims to divinity and his right to be worshipped. Humility is not hiding. He does not hide his knowledge, wisdom or uniqueness.
The clue is in the phrase, “He humbled himself”. No one else could humble him, that would be humiliation, he chose to adopt a mindset of humility. Humility has power but does not abuse it, rather it uses power to empower others. Humility means even though he was rich, he used his wealth to enrich others.
Authentic humanity is revealed in active humility. A humility that may even celebrate your assets and abilities but freely chooses not to use them to enhance yourself and devalue others. It expresses itself in unconditional generosity.
Surprise, surprise; it is utterly consistent with emptying and servanthood, the other two faces of our Christian mindset.
But there is a second aspect of the perfect humanity on display here. It is even more amazing. I will try to explain it.
There is one reality that every human shares. To be human is to die – one day. You and I have no choice. One out of every one of us dies. It’s a law we have to obey.
But the Son of Man was different. He did not have to die. Paul tells you he became obedient to death. He chose, of his own free will, to obey death. So he joins us on our own journey to death but his death is at the same time a different death, a deliberate choice.
It is this aspect of the Christmas mindset that changes everything. At the celebration of a birth you see an obedience to death. Why? Because his death is a doorway. It is not like your death. It is an obedient death which will revolutionize life as we will see next week in the fourth vision of a Christmas mindset.
Take that humility to work this week and watch your week evolve but if you can walk through his doorway eventually everything will change –Christmas does that.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
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