The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

As we consider God living among us as the man Jesus of Nazareth, we see Jesus dying on a cross for our sakes. At that time, crucifixions were ordinary, everyday occurrences—nothing special. And it was not unusual for a good person to die on a Roman cross. Undoubtedly many innocent people suffered such torture at the hands of the oppressive Roman government.

No, Jesus dying on a cross was not particularly noteworthy—unless He was indeed the Word made flesh. If He was God come to us in order to settle something permanently, then the cross and the resurrection were both events that demand our attention and our response.

What makes sense of the crucifixion is the incarnation. Incomprehensibly, God became a person, became flesh. It is God in Christ, God as man, and nobody else, dying on the cross, assuming our sin, who has something to offer to our world.

John 1:14 says, “We have seen his glory.” The apostles and others saw the glory of God in person, who lived among them and spoke to them. In the Christmas manger, we must see the wonder and marvel of the Word made flesh. Jesus’ glory remains veiled to us if we don’t, and thus we trivialize Christmas. But if we see His true glory, then we will worship Him truly.

He came not trailing clouds of glory.
He came not wearing heaven’s crown.
He left behind His Father’s golden city
And chose as birthplace Bethlehem’s little town.

Equality with God was His by nature,
And worship by the angels was His right.
The honor due Him by His heavenly Father
He left to come and save us Christmas night.

He laid it down, He laid it down,
And taking human form became a man.
He laid it down, He laid it down,
And chose instead the world’s redemptive plan.

So who I am to seek the world’s dim glory?
And who am I to fight for worldly crown?
What right have I to choose to work in city,
In rural country or in tinsel town?

And who am I to grasp some vain ambition?
Or who to choose a partner for my days?
Am I superior to the Christ who saved me?
Do I have rights to keep or give away?

I’ll lay them down, I’ll lay them down,
And make Him Lord of all I want to be.
I’ll lay them down, I’ll lay them down,
Lay hold instead of all He wants for me!

He Laid It Down, Jill Briscoe © 1991