Now more than ever we need a King whose message is truth, love, compassion, justice, mercy, and forgiveness, writes Rev Jo.
“In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men[a] from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,[b] and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;” Matthew 2:1-3
It is hard to imagine that King Herod, a powerful Jewish leader, could be frightened of a tiny child. He has the force of Rome on his side, not to mention the religious leaders. He sits in power in Jerusalem, surrounded by riches and protected by soldiers. He has nothing to fear from a child.
Yet this child is different. Prophesied. Wanted. Desired. Looked for. Born to humble parents, laid to sleep in an animal trough, visited by shepherds, celebrated by angels, highlighted by a star, worshipped by wise visitors. Not just an ordinary baby but God himself, God with us, God come to save us. Perhaps Herod is right to be fearful. For the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Saviour of the World is here, present on earth and has come to build his Kingdom. A Kingdom which turns the world’s values upside down and ushers in the glorious, inclusive, welcoming, redeeming love of God.
Our image for Christmas this year is a crown; to remind us of the Kingship of Jesus. The incarnation is a story of humility, God choosing to limit himself to become human and to live among us. Yet is also a story of power – God’s power transforming humanity one relationship, one moment of forgiveness at a time. The crown reminds us as we celebrate Christmas that we are in the presence of a King. Not just any baby, but Jesus the King.
In a world where power means you can do anything you like and no one will challenge you, where you can tell all the lies you want and behave how you like without repercussions, you can poison your enemies, buy off the leaders of other countries, lie to your citizens, destroy those who challenge you and spread fake news to deceive; we have the greatest need for a King whose message is truth, love, compassion, justice, mercy and forgiveness. Happy Christmas.
Almighty and everlasting God,
whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son,
the King of kings and Lord of lords:
Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth,
divided and enslaved by sin,
may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.