We bus a lot as a family. We don’t actually own a car and so the boys are pretty comfortable on public transport. Sometimes we catch a bus that has a single seat at the front with an armrest and a small sliver of space on the other side.
My boys like the front seat. When there is only the one space for a single backside they still hop on together. Because there isn’t room for 2 on the chair the little one half sits/crouches in the gap. He’s so keen to be near the brother that he loves and part of all of his life that he’s prepared to be small and uncomfortable.
His love for his brother makes him prepared to shrink, to lay aside his comfort, to be small in order to be present. And the big brother? He hardly notices the sacrifice this little one is making just to be near him.
I watched the other day, with all the love and joy of a mother seeing her favourites love each other and I was reminded of another.
One who laid aside power. Who made himself small, so small He fit into the skin of a young woman and grew there as a baby. One who fills the whole universe and holds it together – who became small for love.
Jesus, who loved us so much he slipped into the uncomfortable place, sidelined, marginalised, unnoticed. Jesus who took on discomfort, when he was owed all comfort. Jesus who laid aside glory when he was due it all.
The One who became human to take part in our experience. Who became small to be side by side, shoulder to shoulder, to be Present.
Michael Lloyd puts it this way:
The Incarnation does not happen despite God’s transcendent greatness, but because of His inherent humility. It is not a temporary exception to His greatness but a permanent demonstration of it. Humility is not something that God took on at the Incarnation, but part of who He eternally is.
If Jesus is God incarnate, then we do not have a remote unknown God – one who keeps us at arm’s length, who directs the campaign from a safe distance, like some First World War general. Rather, we have a God who enters into our world, our lives, our sufferings, our moral ugliness and our consequent mortality. We have a God who is not only committed to His world, but internally committed to it. *
And still – I don’t even notice.
We miss the amazing, scandalous, sacrificial love that is demonstrated in the act of the Word emptying himself and taking on flesh. This – all on its own – mind blowing. The greatest of Love that made himself so small he could be present with me.
Uncomfortable for my company.
This is the God who blows all the warped stories we conceive of who he is. This God whose love is so endless he shrinks himself to be with us.
Christ was truly God, but he did not try to remain equal with God. Instead he gave up everything and became a slave when he became like one of us.