Born is the King
What is Christmas without the tree, gifts, music, attending church in uncomfortable yet fancy outfits, the amazing food, and a million other traditions we participate in every year? Yet the question we always find ourselves going back to is, what is the meaning of it all? We hear over and over again, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” But why? And the answer to that requires a little bit of research. It means turning back the pages of the Bible to the beginning and finding where God began hinting at the coming of Christ through each book, chapter, and story. And through this we come to find that it all points to exactly what we expected, yet it also points to someone no one could have predicted by the world’s standards.
For the Bible tells me so...
Before quoting the actual birth of Jesus, first I want to point to a few, of the many, specific prophecies regarding Jesus. First, about 600 years before the birth of Jesus, through the voice of the prophet, Jeremiah, God promises the end of Israel’s exile and the eventual coming of Jesus.
“’I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number.I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,’ declares the Lord. ‘The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land … This is the name by which he will be called: the Lord our righteous savior.’” Jeremiah 23:3-6
And centuries before that, as the Lord promised through the prophet, Nathan, that King David’s descendent would build the temple, not King David, but God promised Jesus would come from King David.
“The Lord declares to you that the Lord Himself will establish a house for you; When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." 2 Samuel 7:11b-14
It was clearly established that Jesus came from a royal lineage, and even knowing that, few understood at the time how birth of Jesus was more than originally expected.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2
Do you hear what I hear?
Throughout history, when has anyone been born king? Jesus was declared king at birth, and that began an amazing journey no human could invent. The beginning of what would impact all of our eternities, but who could have predicted that the end game required the sacrifice of Jesus, who was born a king?
Jesus’ birth is a changing point in the timeline of humankind. Without Jesus’ birth, there would be no sinless life, no new commandments, and no death and resurrection that we might be saved. Everything hinges on Jesus’ birth, and that is why we celebrate.
We celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise and the inevitable salvation that comes with it. We celebrate the promise of our ransom paid. Prior to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Bible is filled with people called by God to make a covenant (Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, Solomon, etc.). Although each one fell short on their end, God never failed them. Thus proving that Jesus’ fulfillment and completion of a covenant between man and God is proof of how dependent we are on Jesus. Therefore, not only should we celebrate His birth, we need to.
As I dwell on this truth each December, reading the birth of Jesus and listening to the old school hymns, the words suddenly impact me that much more. Taking in all of this, with fresh eyes, I challenge you to read the lyrics of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”:
“Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie. Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light; The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight."
We sit in sweet anticipation of the birth of Jesus that promises our salvation, while holding on to the bittersweet truth that this is the beginning of a painful journey.
A journey made by One who is perfectly man and perfectly God, existing perfectly in the same body, who promises to save us from the downfall that Adam and Eve began. It is a season of joy, celebration, and excitement for what may be. Truth be told, there is the hesitation to rejoice at Jesus’ birth knowing now what the finale consists of. Ultimately though, Jesus’ birth started it all, and is why He truly is the reason for the season.
Nothing takes away from the celebration of Jesus’ birth, so let’s add back the music. Add back the food, because Jesus almost always changed lives and taught after He fed people. Bring back the gifts, since the wise men thought gifts were the best thing to bring a child born king. Whatever kind of tree you want, include that in the celebration, for the beauty and the memories that we hang on the branches. Surround yourself with loved ones while you savor the spirit of this time of year, because we get to sing praises to King Jesus who has been born.
The world’s salvation is here.
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