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Powerful kings have always been known for their great pomp, ceremony and privilege, both at home and abroad. When they travel, large retinues of servants, clothes, special foods, and sometimes, even items of their personal furniture, go with them. All to make sure their royal environment is preserved even in foreign territory.
Kings and queens have to look like kings and queens if their royal majesties are to be recognized and honored in the ways they are used to.
But when the greatest king of all, God himself, came to earth as a human being, he did not come in mighty power and with all the attendant pomp and ceremony of human kings. He came in simplicity, in humble surroundings, identifying with the kind of people that most kings and queens never have a conversation with their entire lives.
Jesus could have arrived with powerful thunder and lightning, great displays of glory in the sky, endless parades of brilliantly arrayed angels, or some other kind of glorious celebration and fanfare unlike anything humanity had ever witnessed.
But he didn’t arrive that way. Instead, he came into the world just like most of us do, with ordinary parents doing the best they could to provide food and shelter and pay the bills.
There was an angelic choir, but it appeared only to one group of average shepherds in one field. There were foreign dignitaries bringing gifts, but they had to be given special directions to even find the baby and his parents, and then sneak in and back out, without telling anybody they'd been there.
For most people, power and prestige are the highest goals of life. But in Jesus, God has given us what really matters – love, joy and hope – not an endless struggle for the outward glory that the world values so much.
Jesus turns our lives and values upside down. In him, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." He brings us true life, life rooted in knowing God for who he really is – as the One who not only made us, but who loves us and never stops loving us; as the One who redeems our lives and seats us with Christ at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus brought a new kingdom, a kingdom in which everybody matters, not just the nobility. He died and rose for all – rich and poor, noble and peasant, and everyone in between. Even you and me.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.