But made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in the fashion of a man, He humbled Himself ...
Philosophers debate the possibility of God becoming a man. When it actually occurred, it was more radical than they could've imagined. After years of Hallmark nativity greetings, familiarity has blinded us to the scandal of the incarnation. When the holy God became humble, it looked, by contrast, disgusting.
The Christmas story deals in the realm of the concrete; shared reality in a fallen world; common need with which all mean can relate - and so it begins with tax legislation.
She was fifteen, quiet, and a two days over-due.
He was working in a machine shop, broke after buying the engagement ring, and hoping their eighty-nine cavalier would finish the five day trip to Coonesboro, the middle-of-no-where town whose only claim to fame was being the birthplace of a former King from the nation's glory days a thousand years ago.
When they pulled in after midnight, the only motel was behind the trailer park. The neon vacancy sign was not lit, and for good reason - the only available space was in the maintenance garage to the rear. They had no other option.
While he was cleaning grease off the floor to put down a blanket, her water broke. He could clean the floor later. When the baby arrived, they wrapped him in shop towels and gently set him in the utility sink.
Angels appeared for a brief and terrifyingly awesome moment to announce the birth of the Godman at the local truckstop. So garbage men, a tow truck driver, and the Wonderbread delivery guy came to worship the Savior of the world.
As He grew, He apprenticed under the father He'd created. The One Who'd stood as the fourth in the fiery furnace, now woke up before sunrise with achy knees and itchy stone-dust eyes. He commanded the angels of heaven and winced at pulled splinters. Six-day-a-week, blue collar life was the only he knew for thirty years. It ended when the Spirit of God was seen filling Him, while the greatest of all prophets baptised His body, and the Father's voice came out of the sky to affirm His perfection. On that day, like every day before, he had dirty fingernails.
After three years, He was a despised and rejected teacher, though His words had spoken the Andromeda galaxy into place. His student followers left him to return to their jobs in the factory. He was tortured to death as a political scapegoat, for hours, naked, beside two car thieves, in public. As He gave them life, breath, and all things, the centurions pulled His draining carcass from the wooden pole.
The incarnation was the closest God has ever come to denying Himself and betraying His own glory. It was so sacrificial as to almost be sacrilegious. It was nearly obscene - God sinning.
This is the mind of Christ. This is what we are called to imitate. In our world of entitlement, this is obscene humility and we are commanded to make it our own.