On Decrees and Real Power

The Christmas season always reminds me of the subversive ways of God.  King Jesus, born to a teenage peasant girl in a dusty rural village out of the spotlight, but still in the shadow of Rome’s immense power.  One of the reasons we know the story is true is that we never could have come up with it ourselves.  Not for nothing, but its the same way I know grace is true.  Such a subversive approach to my way of thinking.  And yours too if you get right down to it.

When Caesar issues a decree that a census is to be taken, the whole world knows at risk of death.  When King Herod is troubled, “all Jerusalem is troubled with him” because his troubles cause innocent blood shed.

Unfortunately through human history and this past Friday, that trait remains unchanged.

But when God issues a decree through one of his favorite Angels, only a couple of lowly, no account people know.  And the decree is so unbelievable, its not like God’s revelation to them is of any help.

Imagine Joseph with some friends…

“So you’re still going to marry her, Joseph?  Its not your child.”

“Yeah, an Angel told me.”

“Riiiight.”

Something subversive, counter cultural, is going on.  Caesar thinks that he is calling all the shots, Herod thinks he has power to wield, but God-in-the-background is carrying out almighty plans.

Thank God that trait remains unchanged as well.  Its what we spend this time of year celebrating.  The subversive, astonishing ways of our Creator God who comes as a helpless baby born into a zip code no one much cares about.

2000 years later, give or take, and none of spend much time thinking of Herod, as terrifying as he was back then.  And Caesar is listed as a line item in our history books.

But Mary’s boy-child Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem?

Real.  Everlasting Power.

Temporal power needs to take a census to know how immense his empire is.  Real power don’t need no census when he knows the number of hairs on our head.

Temporal power tries to keep real power at bay by shedding innocent blood.

Real power sheds innocent blood of his own accord, for children and adults everywhere.

In spite of evidence to the contrary, in a world of people who wield temporal power in devastating ways, we celebrate the King of Kings who is also the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father.

Somebody get me a carol to sing.

 

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