[Jesus] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
For those of us whose lives have been transformed by Jesus' birth and the mission of his life to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), one of the most natural things we can do is "go tell it on the mountain" and in the city and everywhere.
We are sent as representatives of the one born in Bethlehem and crucified at Calvary. The message we tell on the mountain and everywhere, with all we are with mouth, mind, heart, and hands is that the Father has sent the Son.
We are sent to say and show that Jesus was sent into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). What we proclaim on the mountain, and live out in the city, is not ourselves, but Jesus and the good news about him (2 Corinthians 4:5). We are not the message, but mere messengers.
His Ultimate and Utterly Unique Sending
Which means that Jesus' sent status is in a class by itself. He was not only sent as the preeminent Messenger, but as the Message himself. Jesus' sentness is primary and ultimate; ours is, at best, secondary and derivative. Christmas is a reminder of the primacy of Jesus as the Sent One. It's a reminder to tell it on the mountain, but not take yourself too seriously.
That the Father sent his Son to share fully in our humanity is no mere model for mission. It is at the very heart of the gospel that our mission aims to spread. Christian mission exists only because the Message still needs to be told on mountains, in cities, and everywhere.
Jesus' mission is unrepeatable. His Incarnation is utterly unique. We are meager delegates, unworthy servants. Whatever condescensions and sacrifices we embrace along the path of gospel advance, they simply will not hold a candle to the Light of the world and his divine stooping to take our humanity and endure the excruciating death on our behalf.
Because he was in the very form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:6-8).
Is there something here to mimic? Yes, in some distant sense. But in the main, this Incarnation is not about what we are to do, but about what has been done for us.
So before going on too long about our telling it on the mountain, let's give due attention the attention of worship to this Jesus born in Bethlehem, this Christ whose mission showed us God and accomplished our eternal salvation.
The Centrality of Worship
Christmas reminds us that our life's dominant note must not be our witness for Jesus, but our worship of Jesus. He is not just a message to be told on the mountain, but the greatest Treasure of our lives.
Mission is a critical rhythm of the Christian life, an essential season of redemptive history. Our mission of extending Jesus-worship to others, local and global, on mountains and in cities, should be a frequent check on the health of our own Jesus-worship. But mission for Jesus must never take the place of our worship of Jesus, lest the mission itself become crudely distorted along with our own souls.
If the chief theme of our lives is not worshiping Jesus, enjoying God in him, and being freshly astounded by his grace toward us sinners, we have no good business telling it on the mountain and endeavoring to bring others into an experience that we ourselves aren't enjoying. We need to be reminded, again and again, that telling the message isn't our ultimate goal. Worship is.