We often hear of sports teams going from "worst to first". There is a transformation that occurs and the team comes together in victory after resounding victory. Where the previous year had the team in disarray and complete futility, the current year has the team playing with unity and allowing nothing to deter their climb out of the cellar.
From a Christian perspective that happens to us. We were lost in our sinfullness and then came to our senses, reached out to Jesus Christ, and realized victory in Jesus! This transformative event cannot occur unless Creator God allows it to be so. And, the only way we can experience freedom from sin is through a lowering event. An emptying had to occur and Jesus considered his place as Grand Champion of the universe(s) to be nothing of importance compared to the value in humanity (you and me).
Reading through a book entitled, God Came Near by Max Lucado reminded me of the way in which God took on flesh in the person of Jesus and came to live among women and men struggling in the basement of life. Lucado used this phrase to describe the mystery of this event, "...a human body housed divinity. Holiness and earthliness intertwined." (pg 15).
Here's the rub!
Jesus, comfortably residing in the heavenly realms, chose to leave the posh place of privilege and come to be born in a smelly cave filled with animals (sheep) which included, poo, pee, and the smells that come with these. Catch this! The choice was Jesus' to make and there was no hesitation on His part. He didn't consider his position in 'first place' that valuable, but instead saw a bunch of losers in need of help. BOOM!
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any
fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-
minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or
vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to
your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ
Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,did not consider equality with God something to be
grasped, but made himself nothing,taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human
likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death
—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:1-8, NIV)
If you feel like your life is in disarray and nothing good seems to come your way, then you'll understand in part what Jesus felt when he stepped outside of heaven and settled in a animal feed trough. You'll realize your Savior suffered everything you suffer, and more, just to bring you hope and joy. He went from the penthouse to the outhouse so you and I could go from the outhouse to the penthouse.
Merry Christmas a few days early. Share a "Merry Christmas" with someone today and brighten their face.
God Came Near, Lucado, Multnomah Press: 1987.