In the mightiest nations of the ancient world their leaders were regarded as special representatives of the gods… or even as gods themselves. Egyptian pharaohs, Roman Caesars, and others enjoyed riches and power beyond measure. And all the chronicles of history tell us of the excess, the abuse, the drama, and the politics of keeping and wielding such extraordinary power.
Enter Jesus on the scene. Indeed, a representative of God. Indeed, God Himself. And what follows is not just another ancient story of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’. Something was happening that would change forever the way God and people would share relationship.
The God of Christmas, who gave Himself to a world defined by sin and death and who was born as a human baby right into the thick of poverty and oppression, would change the whole meaning of human life.
That Christmas baby would grow to be a man not of riches and power, not of drama and politics, but of compassion and care for the poor and weak. WHAT!?! God’s special representative in the world is not like Pharaoh… not like Caesar? God, Himself, in the world, is not wielding the power of nations and mingling with those who rule over them?
No. God sets the foundation for a different lifestyle, a Christmas lifestyle. This is what Jesus said when he started his mission as an adult around the age of 30:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18)
This Christmas, do our gifts and celebrations and expectations and lifestyle look more like those of Pharaoh and Caesar, full of selfish excess and drama? Or, are we following in the footsteps of the REAL Birthday Boy as he lives a lifestyle of care and compassion to the poor?