Advent: Christ’s self-emptying

We can never think too long, or ponder too often what God did in Christ in becoming human and then dying the most awful and despised death of that time. Christ’s Kenosis or self-emptying.

Paul writes or shares what amounts to a hymn in the context of calling Christians to live out Christ’s attitude and mind in their relations with each other.

The hymn first of all is a clear indication of Christ’s Deity. He is God. Yet unlike the first Adam, Christ did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, or exploited. Adam with Eve in the garden succumbed to the temptation of the serpent, “You shall be like God.” But Christ chose to live out a humble existence, seen as the human he was with nothing remarkable about him.

So Christ became a baby and thus completely human. He cried in the manger, Mary and Joseph had to attend to his needs like any other baby. And he had to grow up in every way, like any other human.

But this was not all. Christ then humbled himself further and in obedience submitted to the Father’s will in his death on the cross. No where is his beauty any greater than in his Passion, or Suffering. Where do we catch sight of God? In the human face and thorn-crowned brow of Jesus. So Christ stooped from the highest heights to the deepest depths for us, for the world, for all of creation. And all this God did in love. This is at the heart of what the Incarnation of Christ is all about. God became like us, and indeed one of us, that we might become like him. And that we might live as humans in fellowship with God and with each other. Living out our callings in life and work in God’s creation.

This touches all of life. How he I think and live in relationship with others, especially my brothers and sisters in Jesus, but also with everyone, including enemies. We’re to take the way of Christ, the way of humility and obedience, the way of the cross. We’re to do so in the love of Christ.

Thank you Jesus, for becoming one of us, a little baby. And then living a life and dying a death that only you could. So that we can be forgiven and follow in your steps. Give us the grace to do so in all of our weakness through the power of your Spirit. Amen.