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The Empty Gift

by Skip Heitzig |
For the majority of the world, Christmas is all about the gifts: "What shall I get for this person; what will I get from that person?" It can be expensive. In a recent Christmas season, we spent $400 billion on presents! I read an article that said if you wanted to duplicate the gifts from the "12 Days of Christmas" song, it would cost you $15,000. Even the more down-to-earth gifts will set you back. A Nintendo Wii game system for your TV costs $250. An Elmo Live electronic doll goes for $60.

But for God, it's not all about the expensive gifts, the jewelry, the cell phones, the DVDs, and all the rest. It's all about the gift--in the singular. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." It's all about the gift of His Son, who was made incarnate in Bethlehem to be the Savior.

In Philippians 2, Paul looks back at the time Jesus came to earth, and he would tell us it's about the empty gift, the empty box. The present was opened in Heaven, and emptied on the earth. He uses an important word that talks about Jesus emptying himself. Verse 7 says that Jesus "made himself of no reputation." You may have a different translation that makes it more readily understandable: "He emptied himself." The word in the original Greek, ekenosen, means to pour out or empty out, to divest of completely.

Here's the question: What did Jesus divest Himself of? If you say, "His deity," you're wrong. Jesus cannot be, at any time, less than He is. He is, He was, and He always will be God. He emptied Himself of the prerogatives of His deity and the free exercise of them that He had always known.

For instance, His glory. Going back to Philippians 2, we find Jesus "taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (v. 7-8).

He not only came in the likeness of men, He came as a baby. About this amazing "emptying," Charles Spurgeon wrote, "Infinite, and yet an infant; eternal, yet born of a woman; almighty, yet hanging on a woman's breast; supporting a universe, yet needing to be carried in a mother's arms; king of angels, yet the reputed son of Joseph; heir of all things, and yet the carpenter's son."

In the midst of all the frantic gift buying and exchange, I invite you to consider this ultimate Gift, from the ultimate Gift Giver. It's all about Him.

In His strong love,

Skip Heitzig

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