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Come Thou Long Expected Jesus 3

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,

Jesus was born a child, born to deliver God’s people, born in the humble surroundings of a family without a proper place to lodge for the night and, yet, he was also born a king. In today’s world, the thought of someone whose family does not even have an indoor place to lay their head for the night, who must share the stables with the livestock, does not mesh with the thought of someone who is the King of all Creation! Yet that is what we find in Jesus: one who is unexpected and does not play by our cultural rules, who goes against our preconceived notions of what it is to be great and powerful and what qualities one must possess to be a savior.  

Jesus was not the long-expected savior or messiah for whom was hoped in the Hebrew Scriptures. They were waiting for a powerful king, from the line of David, to establish forever the greatness of Israel as God’s kingdom. We hear this in the Lord’s covenant with David, “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.” (2 Samuel 7:12-13) This vision is echoed in the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33) Yet we know that Jesus’ birth was, in many ways, as his death: without power or protection and in humility and vulnerability. The One born to deliver us and to be King over us came to us as an innocent child of young parents who hadn’t expected. As we reflect on this description of the savior as a child and yet a king, we are reminded that Jesus does not play by our rules or cultural norms.
During this season of Advent, let us look past current cultural expectations and remember our King as He came to us and rules over us. The One who “will not break a bruised reed or quench a smouldering wick.” (Matthew 12:20) Let us prepare, in heart and soul, to receive Jesus our Savior with humble, childlike openness, recognizing the One who came as a child and yet also is King over all creation.
The Rev. Lisa R. Neilson
Associate for Pastoral Care and Women's Ministries
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