He Made Himself Nothing

These words have been on repeat in my head (and heart) as I anticipate Christmas: "He made Himself nothing."

He, as in GOD. The Great I Am pressed Himself into nothingness, bound Himself up in mere flesh and blood.

He became like us so that we could become like Him.

It's beautiful and bewildering. "Nothing" is not attractive to me. I want to be "something." I want love and affirmation and respect and value. I want to feel significant, to make my mark in this world and be remembered well for it.

But He turns our world upside-down and inside-out and says, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

Do we appreciate what He did? What Christmas truly means? How do I—a naturally self-absorbed, self-important person—embrace this kind of humility?

This past week I journeyed back to Bethlehem, to that extraordinarily ordinary stable, and I marveled. I marveled at Scripture after Scripture, teary-eyed and awestruck at the perplexity and paradox of the Incarnation . . .

The One who owns "every beast of the forest" and "the cattle on a thousand hills," made His first bed in an animal's feeding trough. (Psalm 50:10; Luke 2:7)

The One whose voice "breaks the cedars, flashes forth flames of fire, and shakes the wilderness," took on the cries and coos of a newborn. (Psalm 29; Job 38:34, 40:9; Revelation 1:15; Isaiah 53:7)

The One who rides through the skies in His majesty, who binds the chains of the Pleiades and loosens the cords of Orion, looked up into His star-studded sky through the wonder of a child's eyes. (Deuteronomy 33:26; Job 38:31)

The One whose love for His children is "as high as the heavens are above the earth," became the humble recipient of a mother's imperfect love. (Psalm 103:11)

The One who alone treads the winepress of wrath, who has "walked in the recesses of the deep," became a toddler who took faltering steps and stumbled and fell as He learned to walk for the very first time. (Psalm 104:32)

The One who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, who rules over the nations and whose "chariots are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands;" entrusted the first news of His birth to a shabby group of social outcasts. (Psalm 47:8; Psalm 68:17; Revelation 19:16)

The One "who can number the clouds by wisdom" and numbers the hairs on our heads, and keeps count of our tossing and tears, learned how to count from the beginning: 1–2–3. (Job 38:37; Luke 12:7; Psalm 56:8)

The One who adorns Himself with majesty and dignity; who clothes Himself with glory and splendor; whose appearance is as jasper and carnelian; He let Himself be wrapped in swaddling cloths and "had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him." (Job 40:10; Revelation 4; Isaiah 53:2; Luke 2:7)

The One who created all and before whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess as Lord—He became a misfit, "a root out of dry ground," despised and rejected, "one from whom men hide their faces." (Isaiah 53:2–3)

The One who fights for us, who daily bears our burdens, who is "the Shield of our help"—became a helpless babe, a child utterly dependent on human parents. (Exodus 14:14; Psalm 68:19; Deuteronomy 33:29)

The One whose fame leaves men prostrate and speechless, became the child of scandal (a virgin mother, indeed!), the subject of hushed (and not-so-hushed) conversations and chastising sideways glances. (Habakkuk 3:2; Psalm 19; Daniel 7; Revelation 4)

Dear one, our God became poor so that we could become rich in Him. He set His gaze upon the cruel cross, "He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death," taking our place so that we could know Life forever and ever.

He became like us so that we could become like Him.

"Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace among those with whom He is pleased!"

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About the Author

Colleen Chao

Colleen Chao

Married at age 34, Colleen Chao writes about her journey from singleness to marriage to motherhood, celebrating God's faithfulness in every season of life. A former book editor, English teacher, and youth leader, Colleen is now mastering the finer arts of diapers, dirt, and dishes. She makes her home in Southern California with her long-awaited husband and son.

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