December 25 — The Action That Created Christmas (Philippians 2:7-8 Phillips)

            Philippians 2:7-8: “But stripped Himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal man and, having become man, He humbled Himself by living a life of utter obedience, even to the extent of dying, and the death He died was the death of a common criminal.”

My homemade translation from the Greek text for this verse reads:

            Verse 7: “But emptied Himself, having taken the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.”

At the moment when He divested Himself of the apparel of the Son, He took the apron of a servant.

Lightfoot points out: “Jesus Christ in emptying Himself stripped Himself of the insignia of His majesty.”

Jesus Christ leapt into the world of humanity and split the eons of time in half with His coming. By His death, He accomplished the redemption of man.

He stepped down from making the solar systems to helping in the carpenter’s shop. He laid aside the scepter to take the towel to wash the disciples’ feet.

Charles Wesley says it well in verse 3 of his hymn, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain”: “He left His Father’s throne above So free, so infinite His grace; Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam’s helpless race; ’Tis mercy all, immense and free; For, O my God, it found out me. Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”

My homemade translation from the Greek text for verse 8 reads:

            Verse 8: “And being found in outward appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, having become obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

This is the depths of degradation. He went all the way to the death of a common criminal. Jesus Christ came all the way down from the throne to the lowest death.

On this morning of celebration for His birthday, let’s sing that wonderful Christmas carol written by Martin Luther, “Away in a Manger.” Please join me in singing verses 1 and 3: “Away in a manger, No crib for a bed, The little Lord Jesus Laid down His sweet head; The stars in the sky Looked down where He lay, The little Lord Jesus, Asleep on the hay. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever, And love me, I pray; Bless all the dear children In Thy tender care, And take us for Heaven To live with Thee there.”