It’s the Christmas season now. Charles Dickens wrote in his beloved tale A Christmas Carol,
“For it is good to be children sometimes,
and never better than at Christmas,
when its Mighty Founder was a child Himself.”
I think there’s much to be gleaned from this. First, I think one importance of being like a child is their unique attitude of faith. Some people misunderstand childlike faith, as Christ commands us to have, with ignorance. On the contrary, C. S. Lewis clarifies that Christ “wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head.”
The second lesson from this is the relevance of the incarnation. “And never better than at Christmas” because Christ became man. “Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (emphasis added, Philippians 2:6-7).
The translation for “was” here means “under and beginning.” That is to say, He always was, and will be God, because He is infinite. Of course, this is difficult to comprehend as the trinity is mysterious, indeed. Furthermore, it is impossible for us to fully comprehend because our minds are finite and He is infinite. And then He “emptied Himself.” How could this happen? What does this mean? Was Jesus limited? Doesn’t that contradict His divine nature? The translation for “emptied” means that He “laid aside equality with or the form of God.” Christ yielded to the limits of being man, but not because being a human limited Him. He then took on the “form” of a servant, the “morphé, or external appearance” in order to take on the “likeness, figure, and image of man“. He maintained His divine nature, while taking on the appearance of man. God became man.
God is not just some distant, impersonal, spirit. No! He is near, He is personal, and He became man. Christ is fully God and fully man. As we celebrate the birth of Christ this season, let us remember the necessity of His incarnation, the significance, and the mystery. Let us be children, again.