Ghirlandaio, Domenico, Adoration of the Shepherds,1483-85
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
I don’t think I’ve ever experienced someone needing me so much until I experienced Ruthie, my little girl. Like most babies, she wanted me close. Perhaps she was a bit closer than most for I couldn’t lay her down for any amount of sleep (without me). She’d appear to sleep soundly for a moment, but awake in minutes, upset that I had left her alone. I tried everything including crying it out (both of us) and at least ten books. None worked. So I gave up and she has been attached to me ever since. She does now sleep pretty good on her own and we gave up nursing over a year ago, but she still must have a part of me so she blows on my belly every so often throughout the day. She has named it “Bell”. She says that all she wants for Christmas is Bell (and she is not talking about the princess)! I do try to give her other interests but she really truly just wants to be with me and a part of what I’m doing all day. I must admit, there are times I wish it were different but I know I’ll long for these days in about 15 years!
Ruthie desires me to experience all of life with her. And I suppose we all want that…to experience the good times and not so good times with at least one companion. I remember that was the most challenging aspect of being single into my 30’s…the desire to share life with someone. Maybe that is why I look forward to thinking this week about what Jesus really experienced in the flesh. It is comforting to know that Emmanuel – God with us – really did experience life with us. He didn’t just come protected from the hardships of life we know…He experienced all that life dished up. It is good to see in scripture that He must have experienced happiness and joy. He attended weddings and dinners and had friends. He even seemed to have had a sense of humor. But what scripture seems to be most concerned about is conveying the truth that He experienced our challenges and hardships as he carried out His mission to save us. I think this is because He wants us to know that He humbled Himself and served us. And it helps to know the one calling us to humility has done the same doesn’t it?
Does this encourage you in some way…to think of the God-king experiencing our daily challenges and routine ways as He carried out His plan to save us? If He came to serve us by offering His body, part of that was living a perfect life and He did it while experiencing all that we do. Let’s celebrate each experience that we meditate on this week. Each instance recorded in scripture which reveals that God Himself truly became like us…flesh.
Begin this week by contemplating what His birth may have been like. Have you ever imagined the first breath and cries? Until today, I’m not sure that I had ever contemplated the fact that the Creator had to be nourished by His created. Perhaps He spit up. Perhaps He, like Ruthie, needed and wanted His mother near Him all of the time as He grew in infancy. Think of all of the days she probably had to wear him close to her. The days of motherhood in those infant years are almost a blur to me now. But I know they were days of giving constantly because the needs are so great. He put Himself into that situation of needing.
This is what He did…He was born and took our nature of needing so that, ultimately, He would save us in our need.