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God Emptied Himself – Advent Reflection

smoke in a glass (4) redone

God Emptied Himself

Philippian 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,    
did not regard equality with God    
as something to be exploited, but emptied himself,  [/highlight]  
taking the form of a slave,    
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,    
he humbled himself    
and became obedient to the point of death—    
even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him    
and gave him the name    
that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus    
every knee should bend,    
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess    
that Jesus Christ is Lord,    
to the glory of God the Father.

God in Christ “emptied” himself!

God emptied out everything in order to come and be among us.  God is not some distant, disconnected, uncaring and unfeeling deity out-there somewhere beyond the stars in the sky.

The truth is that God is near – that God is here.

The truth is that God is among us – as one of us.

God emptied himself to come and be present with us.  That is why we call Jesus “Emmanuel”, a name that means “God with us.”  Here is a picture of a God who yearns for intimacy.  Here is a God who desires to make a connection when we feel most disconnected.  Here is a God who brings comfort when no comfort seems possible.  Here is a picture of a God offering what is needed—whatever is needed.

See heaven overturned and emptied out as an expression of God’s desire to love us, save us, and be connected to us.

God is with us!  God pours himself out for us.  God “emptied Himself!”

We see God emptying Himself out as the angel Gabriel visits a young virgin named Mary with the announcement she would give birth to a son who would be called Jesus (which means Savior) because he will save his people from their sin

We see God emptying Himself out through the angelic choir as they herald Jesus birth not to Priest, Princes, or Potentates, but to simple shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

We see God emptying Himself in Bethlehem as Mary gives birth to Jesus (God’s only son) in a barnyard where he is wrapped in rags and laid to rest in a feeding troth.

We see God emptying Himself out at the end of Jesus life, at the cross, where God’s grace and love are offer through Jesus.

John the Baptizer came, declaring that “The Kingdom Of God Is Near!”

That KINGDOM became a reality in God’s emptying of Himself for our salvation.

Here is the great truth of John’s preaching.  Wherever we are, God is with us – The Kingdom of God is near.  That said, we will miss seeing God immediately presence when we remain focused on self.  That’s why the Baptizer calls for our repentance.

To REPENT is to turn around an change our focus.  Our default programming is to focus on “The Kingdom of ME!”  John asks for us to reorient ourselves to the God who empties himself to come to us.  It is a call to the end of self-sufficiency.

The Kingdom of God is near.  “Repent!”

Emmanuel has come and God is now with us.  “Repent!”

God has emptied himself: “Repent!”

God has overturned heaven, emptying everything that we might be redeemed.  “Repent!”

God has all that we need to face all that we face.  “Repent!”

God has come and submitted Himself to the worst we could offer.  “Repent!”

“Repent, the Kingdom of God is near!”

“Repent!”  Stop trying to save yourself, and cast yourself into the inclusion of the grace of God.

“Repent!”  Stop seeing God as your possession, and start seeing yourself as one belonging to God.

“Repent!”  Stop following your wants, whims, and wishes – and follow God.

“Repent!”  The Kingdom of God is here – reorient yourself to God’s rules and reign.

“Repent!”  Do not trust in your possession, power, sense of privilege, or pedigree.

“Repent, the Kingdom of God is near!”

Resource:

Preaching and Worshiping in Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany: Years A, B, and C
by: Abingdon
publisher: Abingdon Press, published: 2005-06
ASIN: B004E3XFXI
sales rank: 2916975
price: $0.98 (new), $2.09 (used)

This helpful one-volume commentary resource provides brief preaching commentaries and prayers for worship for the first Sunday in Advent through Epiphany of the Lord (Years A, B, and C).  This book includes: lectionary readings for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; three sermon briefs for each Sunday in Advent and the Sunday after Christmas; sermon briefs for Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the Day of Epiphany; creative prayers for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; scripture index; and calendar of First Sundays in Advent, 2005-2015.

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