The Unexpected Expected Baby King

“Our God who breathes stars in the dark–He breathes Bethlehem’s Star, then takes on lungs and breathes in stable air. We are saved from hopelessness because God came with infant fists and opened wide His hand to take the iron-sharp edge of our sins.” Ann Voskamp (138).

First there was the oppression of Egypt, then the captivity of Babylon, then the occupation of Rome.

For quite some time, Israel had been imagining a conquering Messiah. Perhaps on that silent night before the angels’ announcement, the shepherds were dreaming of the day when they would be free from Roman rule.

The magi–-scholars debate where they came from-–were religious. They came to worship. But they may have also had a political motive. They came seeking the new King. They brought gifts befitting a king who may someday want to conquer.
They did find the One to worship. They gave their gifts. Returned home. And we never heard from them again.

I wonder. Did they expect to meet a humble king in a humble home?
How could they know what to expect of His Kingdom?

The song asks “Mary, Did You Know?” Were there moments when she wondered when she would wake up from this strange dream? But it wasn’t a dream.

He would turn water into wine at her request.  He would, as the song says, walk on water, give sight to the blind, still a storm, and raise the dead.

How could she know what to expect from His life?

Reverberating in the back of her mind through His growing up years rang the prophecy of Simeon the priest: “[A]nd a sword will pierce even your own soul.”

Simeon had a glimpse at least of what was ahead. But perhaps even he did not understand that Christ’s incarnation was not to be political.

From Voskamp: “The Light never comes how you expect it. It comes as the unlikely and unexpected” (139).

Ace Collins writes, “Christ was the king who came not to take, but to give” (101). In the ancient world, that concept may have been the most unexpected of all. A King who would utterly give Himself rather than extracting tribute. A King who would suffer on behalf of His servants. He takes us beyond expectation.

We bring our expectations to our daily lives. We bring them to our churches every week. Reaching beyond expectation to ministry with other Christ followers opens doors of fellowship. Reaching beyond the expectation of the manger takes us to the love of the cross.

Wrong expectations limit ministry. The love of the cross has no such bounds.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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24 Replies to “The Unexpected Expected Baby King”

  1. Nancy, You certainly have informed and entertained at the same time. Your writings generate thought and personal reflection on my own attitudes. Thanks! I agree with your message and am awed by your writing. You have certainly reached a point of mastery in your messaging; short, simple, profound, and scholarly. You have certainly gone some distance to impress and please your older brother. Love you!

  2. I love the song Mary Did you Know. What a surreal experience it must have been. I love thinking about it. I also love how you bring up the point that the God who breathed stars into existence the. Took on lungs. Wow. Thanks.

  3. I don’t think Mary knew! 😉 I don’t think anyone could imagine… it’s why Jesus had to come – to reveal.

    And I think we still don’t get our expectations right – or at least I don’t. I expect God to fix everything now – I guess like the Jews did with their conquering king. And like most of them, I am disappointed when he doesn’t. I think he works in ways that our imaginations can’t put together – for His good and ours… at least that’s what faith tells me.

  4. Nancy, what a great reminder that the “The Light never comes how you expect it. It comes as the unlikely and unexpected.” Who could have imagined that the Messiah would come as an infant and the degree to which he would impact the world? I have often thought about Mary and wondered how much she expected as a result of this baby’s birth, and thus was ready for. And how much she could never predicted, and thus was totally unprepared for. It is a great reminder to us – that we too never know how our stories will unfold and where the light will enter our narratives. Have a blessed Christmas!

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