"At that time the Roman emporer, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David's ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them." Luke 2:1-7 NLT
"You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that by His poverty He could make you rich." - 2 Corinthians 8:9 NLT
"Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though He was God,
He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.
Instead, He gave up His divine privileges;
He took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When He appeared in human form,
He humbled Himself in
obedience to God
and died a criminal's death on a cross." - Philippians 2:1-8 NLT
This one moves me deeply. What does this phrase: "mild He lays His glory by," even mean? To me, it means, nonchalantly, without a second thought, Jesus set aside His glory and position to take on our humble, chaotic, messy humanity, to be God with us.
Here are a couple of definitions of the word “mild.”
1. Gentle in nature or behavior
2. Moderate in action or effect
3. Not severe
Jesus laid His own glory, grandeur, splendor, and brilliance aside in humility and gentleness to be one of us, so that, as Paul says in 2 Corinthians, we might be rich and share in the richness of being one with God.
For such a flashy, fancy season as Christmas time has become, it’s important to remember the origin of the story. A baby, still covered in what placenta couldn’t be wiped off with travel-worn rags, wrapped in unclean strips of cloth, lying in an animal trough. Nothing glorious or grand about that. Jesus laid aside His glory, and traded it to become a helpless newborn baby, completely dependent on Mary and Joseph to keep him alive, care for Him, and love Him as a regular child.
"Christ became what we are, that we might become what he is. This is ‘the marvelous exchange.’ He enters our life that we might enter his. Behold God the Son, who has become our Brother!”
- Anathasius, Fourth Century Theologian
Too often, we give in to the importance society puts on status. And it can be so subtle. We long for recognition and value, sometimes in a career, sometimes as a parent, but more often it's in our day to day interactions with people. We aren't good at seeing people or treating people as better than ourselves. We want to be seen as intelligent, put-together, in the know. But that is not the God we serve, nor the Kingdom we deeply long to help usher in.
Jesus did not live in glory while on earth. He lived in the gutters, with the marginalized of society. Jesus had "no place to lay His head." (Matt. 8:20) He lowered Himself among the lowly, and died in the worst way of the time, so that we could be lifted into His glory. God wrapped Himself in human flesh to ensure that we would have the opportunity to be a part of His family, to live through eternity with Him in the glory, the staggering beauty, and the majesty of His Kingdom. Humbling realities!
It's so tempting to give into the shiny idea that life with Jesus will be easier. That once we let go of every illusion of control over our lives that we harbor, life will be less stressful, more adventurous. Wait, it is those things! But it's much more costly, because if we're to emulate our God, we must live others-centric: thinking of others before ourselves, welcoming interruptions into our days, choosing forgiveness because it frees them and it frees us. Life alongside Jesus is a battle against some of our most natural instincts, but the reward of humbling ourselves is a deeply rich life full of God's tender, unfailing love and the gift of remaining with God forever in glory.
He Lay His Glory By!! Read through the scriptures above in a few different translations. See what sticks out to you.
Ask God to show you what areas of your life need to be given to Him.
How can you serve someone else in a new way this week?
Share your thoughts in the comments!