It was not the way a king was supposed to be born. Kings are born in riches and glory, surrounded by silk, servants, and soft music. All the people in the entire kingdom wait with bated breath to hear the birth announcement.
Jesus was born with none of this. At least, not as expected. Yes, there was music, angelic, heavenly music. But it was sung out in the countryside, at night, to a few, poor shepherds. Yes, there were attendants at the birth, but they most likely consisted of a few relatives, and maybe a donkey or a cow. There was no silk, but instead, swaddling cloth, which was also used for burials. And only one person eagerly waited to hear of the Messiah’s birth, but that’s because he wanted to kill Jesus.
God could have done it a different way, but I believe that one of the reasons He did it this way was to show that the Kingdom of God is based on a different set of standards: Humility, lowliness, and simplicity instead of glamor, glitz, and glory.
So I can’t help asking, “What has happened?” Christianity seems to be chasing glamor, glitz, and glory, not humble service and simplicity. How did we go from a hay-lined manger to stained glass and marble floors? When did swaddling clothes become tailored suits? When did kings stop threatening us, and start courting us?
I can hear the objections now: “But this is what people want! This is what people expect! They want quality! This is one way we attract people to our church!”
Yes, that’s all true. But my question is, “How has any of this changed since the days of Jesus?” People have always wanted to join with the powerful, rich, glorious, and famous. That’s why kings and armies of the world have always operated the way they do. But that is not how God operates. That is not how Jesus came. That is not the kind of Kingdom Jesus brought.
So as we look at our churches, our structures, our clothing, our programs, and our budgets, it begs the question: “What Kingdom is this anyway?”