2 December 2020
Once in Royal David’s City
Happy Advent! If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like it’s still June, not December! But here we are, emerging from lockdown into our various tiers, looking forward to what will undoubtably be a very different Christmas. Although I’m sad to be scaling back on the usual festivities, I am grateful to be given the opportunity to focus on the true meaning of this time of year. Without the excitement of shopping at the packed German markets, without the glamour of going to Christmas parties, without the buzz of singing together at carol services, without the busyness of visiting as many friends and family members as physically possible, I am hoping to be able to concentrate on what I am celebrating – the humble, unglamourous, lowly birth of my King, Jesus Christ.
Once in Royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed.
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed.
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ that little child.
He came down to earth from Heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all.
And his shelter was a stable,
And his cradle was a stall.
With the poor and mean and lowly,
Lived on earth our Saviour Holy.
The lyrics to this carol have really caught my eye this year. They have reminded me of the way Jesus came to earth. From the heights and glory of Heaven came a baby boy, born in a stall in a stable. I am very excited to be expecting a baby boy, due on Boxing Day. My baby already has a Moses basket, a cot, freshly washed bedding, the softest blankets, the cutest clothes, enough lotions, wipes, nappies to last about a year. I am hoping (!) he will be born in a clean, comfortable hospital bed surrounded by qualified doctors and nurses.
Yet how was Jesus, the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of all, born?
In a manger, in a lowly cattle shed, to a poor mother who had arrived on a donkey. And that wasn’t just how He was born – it wasn’t that He climbed his way up from his humble beginnings to live a rich, famous life. "With the poor and mean and lowly, lived on earth our Saviour Holy." All His life, Jesus lived with, preached to, healed, cared for the poor and mean and lowly. He ate with tax collectors, talked to prostitutes, touched lepers.
He was born from the royalty of Heaven to the company of sinners.
Here at WorldShare, we, through our ministry partners, give priority to the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised. Those who have had a bad start in life, those who are outcast from society, those who are from humble beginnings, those who are sick. We prioritise these people because Jesus did. He wasn’t born on earth to raise up the rich, the ‘put together’, the glamourous. He was born on earth to raise up those who recognise they are spiritually poor and mean and lowly.
He was born to take us from sinners to the royalty of Heaven!
And our eyes at last shall see Him
Through His own redeeming love,
For that child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in Heaven above;
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
Not in that poor, lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in Heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high,
When, like stars, His children crowned
All in white, shall wait around.
These final two verses give me great hope. This King so dear and gentle will, through his own redeeming love, lead us to stand crowned in Heaven. From sinners to the royalty of Heaven.
So this Christmas, I am going to be rejoicing. Yes, many may turn their nose up at the birth of a tiny baby boy in a lowly cattle shed. Yes, my Christmas may be humble and not as grand or as glamourous as it usually is. Yes, I may be feeling the sting of sin and death more acutely this year. But YES! My humble King came from the royalty of Heaven to the company of sinners, to take sinners like me to the royalty of Heaven. I can’t wait to celebrate that more than ever this year.
By Emily Hobbs, WorldShare’s Marketing Communications Assistant.