What Child IS This?

I have a challenge for you – sit down right now and tell yourself (or someone else) the nativity story.

This past weekend, while the kids were at the Holy Walk, I sat down to tell Davenna (Squishy) the nativity story. I found it to be a very enlightening. I could have read it, but instead we sat down with the plastic nativity and I told her the story, giving it a little “action.” (VERY little, but action, none the less.) 😀
As I listened to myself talking, I had this incredible revelation: I do not see the birth of our Lord and Savior in a Biblical fashion. ???How could this be??? Who would have thought that someone who has been involved in church her whole life, written more Christmas programs than I can even begin to remember, not to mention numerous Christmas devotionals, as well as Christmas worship music – all revolving around Christ, natch – would have…could have missed so much of the story?!!

As I was talking to Davenna, I decided that I wanted to read to her what Mary said, so I grabbed my Bible and started reading from Luke 1. I was blown away – when I was really truly reading, without all my presuppositions and religious traditions firmly in place you know what I saw? Well, I saw a myriad of things, but what I didn’t see is, I didn’t see Gabriel telling Mary that she would give birth to a Son who would save God’s people from their sins and make it so they could have life everlasting in heaven. Have you read it recently?

Let me quote him for you, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,and His kingdom will have no end.”

Isn’t that fascinating? God’s concern was to bring forth a Kingdom that would have no end, not a religion. Yet, when we consider the birth of Jesus, we always focus on religion. Why?

We don’t discuss the fact that the men who came bearing gifts were KINGS. They were not “wise men.” How many times have I referred to them as wise men?!! I can’t begin to guess. Until I was sharing the story with Squish, I hadn’t ever really referred to them as kings, per se’. Yet, kings would not take a birth gift to anyone else but another King!! I don’t think I had truly allowed the truth of that to enter into my being.

Virtually every prophesy that was given about the coming of Jesus dealt with His coming to usher in a new government. Isaiah says, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest upon His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace (Prince of Shalom!!! – this is very important, but that’s another discussion). There shall be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord will accomplish this.”

Government! Not a word about His coming to usher in a new relationship with Father – in fact, Isaiah refers to Him as Eternal Father – but plenty about government. Even the titles that are given to Him – Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father and Prince of Shalom – all deal with His role as King, not Savior.

Why then, do we get stuck on the concept of Jesus coming to save us from our sins, when that so obviously wasn’t God’s highest concern? If His highest concern was the establishment of His government, shouldn’t that be OUR highest concern? (The obvious and only answer being “yes.”) So, what does that mean? How do we live this out?

I decided that the only way to figure this out was to spend time soaking in the Gospels to see how Jesus lived. I’ve read them so many times before, but this time I’m reading, with an eye to see exactly how Jesus lived – where and how His eye was on government, more than religion. I’m eager to see what this means for our daily lives.

AND, then, when I put it with 1 John 3:8 which says that the reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil….well, suffice it to say that this opens a whole new realm of conversation!

All this to say, this Christmas, as I look at the many nativity sets we have around here, I keep looking at this babe – this babe in a manger and realizing that as long as I see Him as Savior, not King of King and Lord of Lords, I’m missing it… I’m missing Him.

(From my FB account, where I was musing “aloud”)    🙂

3 Responses to “What Child IS This?”
  1. April says:

    Those are great insights, Dawn. I’m challenged by this.

    I am also thinking about how Paul and those who authored the other Epistles focused on relationship with Christ in terms of salvation and fulfillment of prophecy. For them, clearly, Jesus comes to save and fulfill God’s plan of salvation.

    It leads me to wonder if there’s something that is “lost-in-translation” for modern Westerners when we consider the King of Kings/ Lord of Lords language. Paul and the others must have presupposed some understanding of His rule that we do not in order for them not to focus on it so much. And by giving us their words, God obviously knew that salvation would be the idea which would capture/ captivate us so that we might explore His sovreignty and what that over-used/misunderstood term actually entails.

    Musing with you, dear…

  2. javadawn says:

    April, Here’s my big struggle, as I have been re-reading again, to get a better grasp of this, I am finding that my preconceived idea of what Jesus taught on is really being stretched. More and more, I’m finding that rather than the Gospel, as I had believed, Jesus was actually teaching on the Kingdom. (Not to mention reading that God preached the Gospel to Abraham…tilt) 🙂

    Especially in Acts 1, where we’re told that the 40 days Jesus was on earth after the Resurrection He spent teaching them of the Kingdom.)

    I have to wonder if our Jewish “siblings” had an understanding of government implied in the term “kingdom.” *shrugs* I mean, you can’t have a kingdom without a people to rule and a king to rule them. 🙂

    I don’t know April – but this is one of those times that I’ve been really struggling with my lack of Jewish understanding. I’m so grateful for our Jewish friends who have been willing to let me ask dopey question after dopey question…and still call themselves our friends, no less! 😀

  3. javadawn says:

    By the way, thank you VERY MUCH for musing with me. I appreciate having someone to bounce this off of – it helps me think deeper and better. 🙂 🙂

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