Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)
The Apostle makes it clear that though Jesus was and is one with God, He didn’t view His Divine status as something to be grasped, something to be exploited or taken advantage of for His own gain.
Quite the opposite. The essence of God’s character is to give, give, give – so our Lord “made himself nothing taking the form of a servant [or slave] being born in the likeness of men….” In coming to earth, Jesus gave up for a time the privileges, the prerogatives, the prestige, the status that were His as God. In the incarnation, in coming to earth as a babe in a manger, he became as a slave. He also set aside His visible glory for a time. His glory was “veiled in flesh.”
But that’s not all. Jesus, fully human and fully God, humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. This Christmas season, as we celebrate the incarnation in a focused way, may we not disconnect the manger from Jesus’ life and death. May we remember – the One “conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary,” the One who caused angels and shepherds to praise God, the One the wise men came to see, is also the Lord of the universe. He is the One who lived the sinless life we couldn’t live. He died the death we should have died. And he did this that we might know forgiveness; that we might know eternity in the presence of God.