This Christmas I have been struck by the unexpected and subversive nature of Christ’s birth. Into a world where Caesar had brought the pax romana by the strong road of oppression, God spoke the Word of peace in a vulnerable babe. It is one thing to fix eyes on the vulnerability of the Christ child. It is another altogether to recognize how God was about the business of challenging the powers of this world in unexpected ways.
While Herod sat on the throne of Judea, there came the anouncement of the prophet who would cry out as Elijah did against Ahab (Luke 1:5-23). While Augustus surveyed the vastness of his empire, he overlooked the birth of the King of Kings (Luke 2:1 ff). Thus was initiated the Kingdom of God – a kingdom that by sacrifice defies oppression. This kingdom would extend beyond the borders of Israel. God declared through Isaiah:
It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6 niv)
Salvation is promised to the ends of the earth!
For all those who yearn to see this final salvation, for all those who groan for the redemption of creation, Christmas is about getting what you want… Just don’t expect to receive it in a package you would recognize.