In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross! (Phil 2:5-8)
The first sermon I ever preached was on this passage. It was in a small, very rural, very poor community in Balimo, Papua New Guinea. It was just before Christmas. I was a 21-year-old medical student at the time. The theme of my sermon was what Jesus had given up for us in coming to this earth.
Sometimes, we can get caught up in the idea that Christmas is all about getting. After all, that is the message that our consumer culture is constantly trying to sell to us. Of course, most of us will be giving a lot this Christmas, but at the same time many of us will also be getting: more presents, more stuff, more food, more chocolates and probably more drink!
Yet if we return to what Jesus actually did in the incarnation, we can see that the story is all about someone who gave up, not someone who got. In that sermon in Papua New Guinea, I pointed out how Jesus gave up:
The Bible And Tax - Revd David Haslam's in-depth exploration of the Biblical precedents for the Tax Justice Campaign with reference to both the Old and New Testaments and to theologian Ched Myers' ideas of 'Sabbath Economics'. Physical copies can be purchased at a cost of £1 per copy, £5 for 6 or £10 for 12. Email us at mail (at) catj.org.uk for more information..