Did the royal baby make his entrance in the way you expected? From the time the pregnancy announcement was made, millions of us watched and waited for the future King to enter this world as royalty. I wondered if Kate could hear the crowds from inside of her hospital room as she labored. News reporters camped out at the scene, wanting to be the first to break the news of the royal birth. Photographers focused their lenses on the easel which would be used to announce that a royal baby had been born, healthy and ready to assume his position in line for the throne.
It’s fascinating for me, as an American, to watch this process. Royalty is only a distant concept to me, in the country where each of us is born equal and the “American Dream” may be achieved by anyone. Proclamations, celebrations, news coverage, and world-wide festivities are fitting when we are graced with the presence of royalty.
However, as I watched the news of the royal birth, it occurred to me that this is exactly how a King should be born… but I couldn’t stop thinking about another baby.
It would have been absurd if the hospital told Kate and William that there was no room. In fact, we all would have been in an uproar if Kate was forced to labor and deliver the royal baby in a horse stable.
“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” ~ Luke 2:7
Also, if I decided to visit the royal baby, I would imagine that I would be met by security guards who would be sure that no one has access to the baby. After all, only royalty may access other royalty. Then, I think back to the other baby who was welcomed by humble shepherds and animals. Certainly not the ones you would expect on the royalty-approved guest list.
“… the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger.” ~ Luke 2:15-16
Kate and William announced the birth of their baby, but he did not yet have a name. However, the baby born many years ago differed in that way as well. He was born without many things, but one thing he did have was a name.
“… you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” ~ Matthew 1:21
“For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
~ Isaiah 9:6
I just can’t shake the contrast. The King of kings, wrapped in rags and placed into a manger of hay when He should have been swaddled in the finest material and placed into a comfortable, safe bed. The long wait for the Messiah was celebrated, not by millions like the #RoyalBaby, but just by a lowly few shepherds.
Why does Jesus’ birth seem to just usher in a world of opposites?
Jesus preached many times “You have heard it said that…” and He would finish “… but I say that”.
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
~ excerpts from Matthew 5
What do we make of it all?
He wasn’t sent to be pampered… He was sent to be crucified.
He didn’t live to be popular… He lived to be reachable.
He refused to cheer the “religious” crowd as having it all together… His reserved His harshest words for them.
I think we learn that Jesus didn’t come as a distant baby of royalty to be admired but never touched. In fact, Jesus ate with the crowd no one else wanted to be seen with. Jesus came to be approachable, to be human, and to give us a walking, breathing, tangible body as a message of God’s love that we could understand.
Who could touch Him and have a relationship with royalty?
… and you still can…