But [Jesus] emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form.
Philippians 2:7 NRSV
We naturally desire control and security. Unfortunately, our lives often involve uncontrollable chaos. This chaos is intensified at this time of year. Whether it be family issues, finances, or other concerns, we are not alone.
When we read Philippians 2:5–11, we naturally focus on Jesus’s Incarnation. However, we often do not consider the implications of the Incarnation for Jesus Himself. Interestingly, Philippians 2:7 informs us that the manner in which Jesus emptied Himself was not by subtracting or removing anything. Rather, He added humanity. Paul reflects on Jesus’s lowly status. The incarnate Jesus is described as a “slave,” the lowest of the lowly. Jesus is voluntarily assuming the weaknesses of the most vulnerable among us. Essentially, Jesus became human, and thus He became vulnerable and acquired all of the messiness that is part of the human experience.
When we think of God, we consider visible glory, strength, and power. This is certainly true. However, the Incarnation involves realities not usually associated with the divine. Jesus is not some insulated deity who one day ventured out of heaven to act on our behalf and then retreated back to His clean, safe home. No, Jesus was as vulnerable in that manger as we were in our cribs. He was as frail as we are today.
Thus, Jesus had to fully depend on God, His Father, right from the beginning. Let us follow His example. Trusting anyone so completely is difficult. However, trust in God is our safest bet. It is easy to forget this. Only in God, who protected Jesus in His most vulnerable state, can we truly rest securely. Our Father is faithful.
This Christmas, when we are encouraged to focus on Jesus, let us consider our own vulnerability and take comfort. While here, Jesus had to depend on the same Heavenly Father as we do. Thankfully, God is faithful.