I was running along the Trinity River Trail a couple of years back when a couple of utility trucks passed me driving along the gravel road. They caught my attention because of the dust they kicked up in my face. They stopped about a quarter of a mile ahead of me, but I really didn’t pay much attention to what was going on. But as I came closer to where they had stopped I noticed that some workers had gotten out of the trucks. One of them was wearing an unusual uniform … a yellow jumpsuit. The closer I got the more details I could see. He was also wearing some kind of a harness. He stood there next to the trucks and, I soon noticed, next to him a man-hole … the heavy lid had been removed. “Okay, just workmen just doing their work,” I thought. I ran on by them, and as I did the full picture of what was going on hit me.
As I ran past the workers I was hit in the face by the awful odor of sewage. I almost gagged! As I continued on, I realized what was about to happen. That guy in the yellow jump suit and the harness was about to be lowered down into a hole … into the squalor of a nasty sewer to do something that apparently needed to be done down there. I thought, “That job stinks … literally.”
But as I ran along, the Lord used that incident to remind me that there was a day when Jesus did something far more courageous and daring, and for an infinitely greater cause. He suited Himself up in a human body and was lowered down through the “man-hole” of eternity. He became a man, lowered into the sewer of sinful humanity to do something that we could never do for ourselves … to rescue us out of that terrible mess.
This is the message of Christmas.
This was also the theme of a hymn that many believe is as old as the church, recorded by Paul in Philippians 2.
“(Christ), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8).
So what are we to do with this information? It’s not just to be filed away in our theological memory banks. This magnanimous act of Christ is to be an example for us. Prior to reciting the hymn Paul exhorted the Philippians, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (v.5).
Let’s determine to think like Jesus. Let’s turn loose of our selfish agendas and surrender to God’s glorious purpose to give ourselves away in service to Him and to others.