Behold Your King

Quite honestly, we meet most Sunday evenings as much to stay connected with one another as we do to get in touch with God. Fortunately, the two motivations are not mutually exclusive, and in the midst of the most ordinary of settings, extraordinary things happen. Just last night we gathered in our regular meeting place, a small recording studio that doubles as a yoga studio once-a-week for a few of us, and did the predictable thing at just such a gathering the Sunday before Christmas–we sang Christmas hymns. We closed the musical portion of our worship by singing reverently ‘O Holy Night!’ Our worship leader has a knack for finding obscure lyrics to familiar songs, which makes our song sets comfortable yet disturbing all at the same time. I plunged into the lines written by John Sullivan Dwight in 1855, only half looking at the printed page since I’ve sung the carol from childhood. But then we came to the second verse and I had to pay attention to what I was singing. These words were deliciously unfamiliar…

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,

With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand;

So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,

Here came the Wise Men from Orient land,

The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,

In all our trials born to be our friend;
     

     He knows our need,

     To our weakness is no stranger

     Behold your King,

     Before Him lowly bend!

     Behold your King

     Before Him lowly bend!

The mellow tones of acoustic guitar slowly faded. The profound declaration we had just uttered found its mark and we were collectively moved to silence. More than participating in cherished tradition, we had rediscovered the grand theme of the cradle event–Christ fully identifies with us, which means we in turn may fully identify with Him. We bow before a King who reaches down to take us by the hand and walk with us through the shadows. My hurt is His pain; His triumph is my hope. Christmas means Jesus Christ knows me and loves me no less for the knowing. When I doubt, He sees a seeker; when I blaspheme, He hears an honest heart. “To our weakness is no stranger.” All that I find disappointing in myself He came to the cradle and cross to redeem. If you think about it, Christmas is entirely a matter of grace–a virgin pauper gives birth to a King, earthy shepherds entrusted with a heavenly message, a dirty stable becomes sanctuary for the Most High. Wonder of wonders, He did it all for me; He wrapped himself in confining humanity just for you. 
     

     Behold your King

     Before Him lowly bend!

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