From the very beginning, the incarnation – God becoming flesh – is an act of costly sacrifice.
Christ left the riches of heaven, laying aside his glory, and came among us in human form. In becoming human, Jesus embraced every aspect of human life. Jesus got hungry and needed to eat, he became tired and needed to sleep, he experienced the full range of human emotions and was subject to the full range of human temptation. He grew up at an ordinary pace, with ordinary parents, in an ordinary place. Thirty years of ordinary life, before three final years of extraordinary public ministry.
Jesus did not play at being human: he was fully human, yet fully God.
Why did he do this? Paul gives us two interrelated reasons. The first is Christ’s great motivation: grace. The undeserved love of God towards us as humans. The second is Christ’s great purpose: that in becoming human our situation as a human race might be reversed: that the poverty of our lives without God might be replaced with the riches of renewed relationship with God. This would require of Christ the ultimate sacrifice: to give up his thirty-three years of life, on a cross, that we might be forgiven and accepted back by God.
Amidst this season of giving, may we wonder anew at the greatest gift that was ever given: God giving his son for us, in love, that he might draw us back to himself. And, given the costly sacrifice of God to give us this gift, let’s make sure we open it up and enjoy the full riches of life lived with God through Christ.