December 25 | Matthew 2:1-12
The Royal Birth
by Elaine Pierce
When King Charles, the current king of England, was born in 1948, a proclamation was posted on the Palace railings just before midnight that Her Royal Highness had safely delivered a son. In Hyde Park, several cannon shots were fired to salute the infant Prince and the bells of the Royal Abbey rang out in celebration of the birth. All of England rejoiced in this royal birth.
Contrast that with how Jesus was born. His parents were poor and had no powerful friends. The hotels of the day were full, so Mary delivered her baby in a guest house, next to the cattle and other animals of the household. Lowly shepherds were the first to hear of his birth.
And in Matthew's account of Jesus' birth, we learn that King Herod was threatened by this baby's birth, and schemed to have him killed. However, the wise men who came to worship him were warned in a dream not reveal Jesus' location, thus thwarting the king's murderous intent.
The birth of our king Jesus was not greeted with cannon shots and royal proclamations. His parents had to flee to Egypt when he was a small boy so that King Herod would not kill him. He did not grown up with wealth and privilege. His band of followers were a rag-tag group of poor fishermen, hated tax collectors, and even prostitutes. And yet, Matthew reminds us that God is always at work, even when we least expect it and in ways that often surprise us. He quotes from the book of Micah in verse 4:
"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rules of Judah: for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel."
Merry Christmas! Today as we open gifts, enjoy family time, and eat way too much, take time to thank God for the miracle of Jesus. He is King of King and Lord of Lords, and today we worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Lord, you came to earth as a baby, born in lowly circumstances without wealth or power. Help me to watch for how you surprise and delight me, and to rest in the sure knowledge that you are my Savior and Redeemer. Amen.