By Monica Gill, MBC Loudoun Attendee
The music is one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. Gracie, my daughter, has decided her favorites are Three Ships and Go Tell it on the Mountain. For me it’s Joy to the World! I think we’ve had those three songs on a continuous loop in the car for the last three weeks… and I love it! Do you ever really listen to the words of Christmas carols? One of the things I love to do at Christmas is try to chew on the verses of the classic carols and unpack their meaning. That’s probably why Joy to the World is my favorite!
“Joy to the World! The Lord is come. Let Earth receive her King! Let every heart prepare Him room.”
Just in that verse we see in the season leading up to Christmas we are supposed to prepare room in our hearts for Him, room to receive the King. Christmas a few years ago, Doug, my husband, decorated the pergola leading to our garden with a lighted star. One evening as we pulled in the driveway Gracie shouted: “Oooo! The star! Mama, let’s be wise men and follow the star to Bethlehem to find Jesus!” Such true words! One of my favorite Christmastime sayings is, “Wise men still seek Him.” But, in order to be wise men (or women) we have to be honest with our hearts and confront the reality of Jesus’ claim to be The King. When you seek Him, you are not just looking for a little peaceful baby in a manger. Remember, the wise men (3 kings) were looking for a King greater than themselves to bow down to and welcome. The challenge for us is to do the same.
As we approach Christmas we focus a lot on the birth of the “baby Jesus” on that sweet tranquil “silent night.” Why? Because a baby seems so non-threatening, right? But, you know King Herod didn’t find sweet baby Jesus to be so non-threatening. In fact he was so threatened by this baby that he ordered the murder of all boys under the age of two in the town of Bethlehem. What’s so threatening about a baby? It was His claim to be The King. You see Herod was lashing out at that claim. Herod was saying, “No! I am the king!”
If it is true that Jesus is The King, what does that mean? What do kings claim a right to? They claim the right to rule. They claim authority. They claim a right to allegiance and the submission of others to that authority. Hmmm… Am I living like He is my King, the King with complete authority and rights to reign over my life? Are you? This isn’t just the sweet baby Jesus—this is the man who claims to be The King and the right to rule in your life, the right to authority over you, the right to have your submission and allegiance above everything and everyone else in this world. And though He claims the right to all this, Jesus is the only King who does not demand and require your allegiance. The choice is yours.
I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of times when I don’t want to give up that kind of power and authority over “my life.” I want to sit on the throne! I want to be the King. As Mel Brooks’ portrayal of Louie the XIV says in the parody film The History of the World Part II, “It’s good to be the King!”
On a serious note though, in his sermon “The Fear of King Herod”, pastor Tim Keller says if we are honest with ourselves, deep down inside we all have a “Little King Herod” in our hearts. The part of us that rejects Jesus’ right to be King over our lives and says: “No! ME! I’m the king!” Maybe he’s getting smaller and less powerful as we allow the Lord more territory to reign over our hearts, but your “Little King Herod” is still there gasping, trying to kill Jesus’ claims to be The King—Your King. It is more than just celebrating the birth of a baby, it is celebrating the rightful King taking His throne and His rightful rule in the world and receiving Him in your heart. I challenge you to do more than celebrate and worship the sweet baby Jesus, but to let Him be your King. Realize this Christmas celebration is not just a feast of “arrival” but marks a looking forward to the ultimate victory and reign of the One True King. Christmas is a reminder of who our King is and what His priorities are.