…Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Many of our homes, inside and out, are highly decorated at this time of year. Some are so gaily lit up, it is almost like day in the dead of night.
Our Christmas trees too are littered with lights, baubles, stars, angels, candies and little gifts. Under the tree, bigger gifts aplenty are eyed off by the impatient younger family members.
Christmas is a fun time, especially in Australian homes.
Jesus’ first ‘home’ on his birth day was not so. He was born in a stable and laid in a manger. In Aussie parlance, he was born in a shed and placed in a feed trough.
My nearest Australian experience of a ‘stable’ would have to be a shearing shed in which I worked as a shed-hand for several years in a former life. The shed was usually constructed of corrugated iron and wood. In the summer, the shed would become extremely hot and in winter, very cold. Depending on the season, the air-conditioning was an open door and the hot waft of air or a freezing gale coming up the chute where the sheep were shoved after being shorn.
One does eventually get used to the smell of sheep dung and the more than occasional fly blown, maggoty rear ends of the sheep.
Not a place I would take a new-born baby.
Jesus is God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the Mighty God of Isaiah 9, and the creator of all things. His domain is the glory of heaven in which all creatures fall before the living God saying:
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honour and glory and blessing! (Revelation 5:12)
Yet he emptied himself; he left all of the above and was brought low in humiliation, born into a poor family, from Nazareth of all places. Can anything good come from there? Born in a dirty shed, placed in a feed trough – no four by two brick and tile home in the suburbs with a decked out nursery for him.
Born into the poorest and meanest of situations. No tinsel, no fairy lights, no glitter.
He identified with all of humanity by becoming like the majority in our world: poor and lowly in station. And Christ’s humiliation continued though his life until his substitutionary death on the cross taking the penalty for our sins so we might share with him in his glorious, heavenly home.
Hark the herald angels sing Chris Tomlin