Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Philippians 2:8 NASB
Power is an interesting attribute. Often in our world, power is used in ways that are designed to underscore the one who holds it. However, Philippians 2:5–11 shows that this is not God’s way. Despite being divine and having all power and authority, Jesus emptied Himself and took on the form of a human being. He did not seek to hold onto His power but chose to use it to serve others.
That is what we celebrate each Christmas: God taking on flesh in order to deliver people who had turned their backs on Him. This act is described as an emptying and as a humbling in Philippians 2:7–8, as verse 8 looks to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. The Father honored Jesus’s act by exalting and giving Him a name to which all will bow as He is shown to be Lord. It is the great reversal—in humility comes greatness.
It is common at Christmas to think about Jesus as a babe in swaddling clothes and to marvel at God becoming flesh. But just as amazing is how He handled His power. His life is an example with humility at the forefront. Paul exhorts the Philippians to imitate Christ, and this text urges us to have the same attitude which was also in Jesus.
Christmas is about an emptying, a humbling, and an example to follow. It is about how much God loves us to become like one of us. In the greatness of His service, the path from the manger leads into a way of life that honors God…and that reflects His heart. Jesus’s incarnation is a stunning example of a different kind of power; it’s power wed to humility.