Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The world discovers its king

May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him. ~ Psalm 72:11 (TNIV)

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 when it rose and have come to worship him." ~ Matthew 2:1b-2 (TNIV)

It's a not-so-subtle theme that runs throughout the Old Testament. Someday, somehow, the entire world will look to the Hebrew people for leadership. That is, God wants to bless the big world through what he started with little ole Abraham (Genesis 12). It's an outrageous thought -- especially when you consider the weaknesses and the ups and downs of the children of Abraham. They're not the kind of people that you'd think God could use for such a big project.

But then comes the Christmas story -- and 2,000 years of promises, rhetoric, and dreaming suddenly has a real name and a baby face. Foreign dignitaries start showing up at his door. The parade has begun.

Among other things Christmas is about a new world order -- political and social upheaval -- the blurring of the east and the west -- Jew and Gentile -- pure and impure -- rich and poor -- king and shepherd -- an earth-shattering new reality. The King of the World has arrived -- and will eventually establish a ruling presence -- a welcomed ruling presence -- not just for one race or group but for all -- people like me, too. That's good news.

Gracious God, there are so many layers to this story. We get excited about a baby -- even a Messianic baby -- but then we realize that he is the long-anticipated king -- the one to whom all peoples and rulers will eventually pay homage. Help me to figure out the implications of this reality for my life right here and now. Help me to figure out how that which started at Christmas will change the way that I relate to God and the world. God, I'm open to this new thing that you're doing. Amen.

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