The birth of royalty is heralded with great fanfare and expectation. When a new royal child is about to be born, the upcoming event is celebrated throughout the land. The pomp and ceremony typically begin immediately after discovering the woman of nobility is with child, accompanied by announcements to prepare all subjects and to generate excitement for the impending birth.
Great fanfare accompanied by glorious expectation did not surround the birth of our LORD and King Jesus Christ. Although He was the desire of all nations as well as our hearts (Isaiah 26:8), the coming of Jesus was little observed in the world. His birth took place in relative obscurity, with Him arriving in a small town in the unlikely environment of an inn’s stable. Instead of being heralded and highly regarded upon His birth, Jesus was born into humiliation, quietly and remotely in circumstances that were humbling even in His day. Essentially, He snuck in under the radar. No other royalty were present to proclaim His birth in the manger, only lowly shepherds.
The lack of attention was not because He was unexpected. The Jews were eager to receive the Messiah and Scripture contained the clues necessary to deduce who this Christ Child was. Herod the Great was king, which was a clear sign the scepter had departed from Judah (Genesis 49:10), a void which was sure to be filled. The Pharisees and other religious leaders were no doubt waiting for the Messiah to appear on their “radar screens”, anticipating the great king whom they expected to liberate them from the Roman occupation with a mighty sword in a style reminiscent of their beloved King David.
In spite of these warning beacons, the Son of God made only the faintest of “blips” on the radar screens of those who were watching. Not coincidentally, the shepherds were the first to see Him appear on the screen and the first to see Him in person. How fitting, since Jesus is our Great Shepherd who came to lead us, the lost sheep, and to take away our sins with His sacrifice. After that, Simeon and Anna spoke of Him to the world, but the world did not pay attention. The image on the world’s radar screen differed from what they had imagined; they were expecting instead a giant image coming with the accoutrements of a royal birth.
People of the day assumed that if the Son of God were to come into the world, they could expect all ceremony possible. It seemed logical that the King of Kings would arrive with great fanfare. He should be anointed with crowns, given scepters, the high and mighty princes and kings of the world should come to glorify and worship Him and to be His humble servants. Instead, when the Son of God came, He humbled Himself to us and came in obscurity. He came to be our humble servant and the world did not recognize Him because humility did not seem normal for a king. Even His own people, the Jews, who were expecting Him imminently, did not receive or recognize Him.
Scholars tell us that almost two years passed before any notice was given to Jesus by the world, when finally the wise men came (Matthew 2:9). With this also came the beginning of the fear and the scorn of His power, with Herod conspiring to discover His location and to kill Him (Matthew 2:12). Even during Jesus’ ministry, He went unnoticed and unrecognized as the Messiah by most of the world.
Today, Jesus’ image does not appear on the radar screen of many because it is obscured by the false promises and pageantry of the world. Even His Name is being wiped off our radar screens as what we once called Christmas is now referred to as a “holiday” and newscasts about Black Friday received far more attention than the story of His birth.
Has Jesus appeared to you on your “radar screen”? Have you accepted Him as LORD and Savior? Is His image fading on your screen due to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season? We should be like the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna, who responded in a normal way to His presence and spoke of His glory to the world. Don’t let the message of Jesus’ birth slip under the radar this season. Share the meaning of Christ’s birth with others and make His presence visible to all.
“I’m Normal.™ I AM.”
It’s God Talking to You
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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