"The Spirit Of Christmas"
by Sharon Manning

After being asked to give a devotional, I checked with the LORD and Phil 2 came to mind so I knew I was to speak for I had never thought of this section in connection to Christmas before but it clearly is.  If I have to have a title it would be: The spirit of Christmas .

Have you ever been on your computer and get a popup message stating that the page is not available and advising you to hit refresh?  I have, especially on Myspace… but then I navigate there more than any other place. (Hint, if you hit F5 it often will correct the problem.)  What is the problem when that happens? Not enough memory space

Likewise, we all at times run out of memory too, don’t we? We just plain forget.  It is not that we do not know something but rather that we have stopped thinking about it.  And there are so many things to think about nowadays that it is quite reasonable this sometimes occurs.  Even scripture speaks in several places of our tendency to forget.  “I don’t hesitate to remind you of these things and will continue to do so… (the Greek indicates continual reminding) So to refresh your memory is a good and scriptural thing to do. II Tim 2:1, 14 Tit 3:1

In the same way, I know most of you know what I am about to say, but please listen carefully anyway for I think it’s important to refresh our memories of  a  few facts in order to more clearly grasp what I believe is the call Christmas puts upon each of us. 

Yes, I said call.  Christmas calls upon us to act.

If you want further documentation from the Bible, just ask and I will give you texts.

Scripture tells us that in eternity past there was a planning meeting consisting of the 3 members of the GODhead… Gen 1:26 indicates this when it says,  “let US make man in our image..”

In Heb 1:2, Col 1:16  we are told that JESUS created the heavens and the earth and all things in them. and Heb 1:3  Col 1:17   tell us that they (the heavens-all those galaxies and universes containing millions upon millions of stars- and the earth are now being held together by JESUS’ power. If you remember your science lessons, you understand that electrons and neutrons should be repelling each other and Peter tells us one day they will- for when JESUS lets go a great explosion with great noise will occur and everything in the heavens and on the earth will fly apart. But that is another story for another time.

It is essential to remember that when we speak of JESUS we are not talking about  a weak and helpless baby but are talking about ONE with inherent power and authority and wisdom … ONE with unquestionable rights and reigning from the highest of positions…  So with that in mind, lets get started.

Philippians 2:1-13  If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of (HIS) love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and  mercies 2…be likeminded. have the same love, be  of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory 4-Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ JESUS. 6 Who being in the form of GOD thought it notobbery to be equal with  GOD (Greek  indicates JESUS didn’t grasp HIS equality with the FATHER or hold on to HIS position of  honor and power along with HIS rights) 7 But made HIMSELF of no reputation (Greek= emptied HIMSELF out)took upon HIM the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of man.8 and being found in the fashion of man, HE humbled HIMSELF (the Creator- co equal in the Trinity humbled HIMSELF and placed HIMSELF under a young woman named Mary) and became obedient (instead of calling the shots HE obeyed what the FATHER commanded) unto death, even the death of the cross 9 Wherefore GOD has highly exalted HIM, and given HIM a name above all names 10 that at the name of JESUS every knee shall bow of things in heaven (hmm like angels) , and things in (on) the earth and things under (within the earth= scripture is very specific that hades or the holding place of the unrighteous dead is now in the center of the earth I will give you scriptures if you want them) the earth.11 and every tongue should (will) confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD(Master, Sovereign), to the glory of GOD the FATHER.

12…as you have always obeyed…work out (put into practice) your own salvation with fear and trembling 13 for it is GOD  which worketh (puts within) in you both (the)to will (the desire/ drive/ motivation= nudgings) and (the) to do (ability to accomplish) of HIS good pleasure.

Vs 5-8 identifies the spirit or attitude of Christmas…is to have the attitude of JESUS – co equal member of the Triune GODHEAD who did not grasp or hold onto HIS position of power and authority or HIS rights but instead did the opposite.  HE emptied HIMSELF (so none could see HIS position, or power or authority and let go of all HIS rights and HE chose and took the form of a  servant and became a man in order to serve those HE had created.  Instead of calling the shots HE chose to obey the FATHER, never acting on HIS own initiative, HE came to do the FATHER’s will which was completed after HE went to the cross, bore our sins and died in our place.        

When Scripture says- have this same mind in you that was in Christ JESUS it is saying, you are called to follow JESUS in laying down your position and power and rights and live your life for others.

JESUS didn’t follow a set of rules but was in constant communion with the FATHER & got HIS power from the Holy SPIRIT.  HE let GOD nudge HIM ahead & empower HIM just as we are to follow the nudges HE places within us &  use the power HE gives us.

1st let me tell you what it doesn’t look like.  Never will GOD tell us to do something HE has told us not to do in  HIS word- such as berate an enemy or seek selfish ends.

How might following nudges look in a tangible way?  I think GOD has shown us in the 1st few verses of this chapter so let’s go back over those 1st verses to see.

Philippians 2:1-4  If there be therefore any consolation (encouragement) in Christ, if any comfort of (HIS)love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels (remember they thought emotions were in the organs so what they are talking about here is affection)and  mercies (compassion, pity undeserved favor) 2…be likeminded.

(hmmm that is saying: be an encourager, comfort others, fellowship with one another, be affectionate and have compassion even when they don’t deserve it.)

have the same love (as JESUS), be  of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife (Greek suggests rivalry-selfish ambition) or vainglory (proud conceit- I know better how it should be done) (this says we are to operate using HIS love, and are to avoid 1- competing with each other, 2- wanting the attention 3- being proud of what we know or 4- demanding our own way.  Instead we are to love each other and have the same focus… JESUS and HIS love for the lost.)

4-Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others

(I would like a new coat but my brother doesn’t have anything to eat hmmm what should I do?  JESUS, our CREATOR didn’t and doesn’t hesitate when there was a need. HE gave up HIS place, HIS rights and suffered and died so we could have life and become partakers of the Devine nature through adoption as sons) and we are called to give up our rights  and serve others.

Remember just as JESUS was rewarded in tangible ways so JESUS will bring us rewards when HE comes for us.

Please feel free to contact Sharon