1. Preparation for a King.
It was an unusual beginning for a king-
His mother pregnant before marriage,
Her betrothed, His future stepfather,
Bewildered, uncertain, knowing the child
Was not his but not knowing what to do.
It was an unusual infancy for a king-
His birth in a stable, a hurried flight
As a refugee to neighbouring Egypt,
His guardian and mother living there as outsiders,
Aliens with an alien tongue in an alien land.
It was an unusual place for a king-
A childhood in a quiet, lowly village,
With all the close awareness of struggles,
The day-to-day immediacy, the earthiness,
The friendships, the caring and sharing.
It was an unusual home for a king-
A simple, modest, ordinary house,
Four half-brothers, some sisters too,
The rough and tumble of family life,
With all its closeness, conflict and intimacy.
It was an unusual discipline for a king-
In His child’s mind were great questions
For which He sought answers in His Father’s House,
But He saw His mother’s confusion, his step-father’s anxiety
And to them both He submitted in patient obedience.
For a King’s preparation it was unusual-
No luxury, no finery, no exclusive tutors,
No servants, no sense of privilege or right,
No-one to order, little chance for ego to swell,
A quiet, contemplative preparation,
Ideal for growth in humility and giving,
For empathy and compassion to flourish,
For fostering deep understanding of the heart,
For identification with ordinary people,
For developing sympathy with the outcasts,
The poor, lame, blind, deaf, dumb,
The sad and lonely lepers, the suffering,
The sick, the widows, the orphans
And the poor, oppressed and abused harlots.
Later, when He left His home, many of them saw Him,
Recognised His greatness and responded in love.
To them he opened His heart and to them,
His people most obviously in need,
He touched, healed, blessed and loved.
Yes, unusual preparation for a king,
But for this man, the greatest of men,
This poet, this story teller, this scholar,
This miracle worker, this great teacher,
This radical and innovative thinker,
This challenger of the status quo,
This exposer of folly, pretence and hypocrisy,
This future King of the world, this Son of God,
This loving, gentle, compassionate man of sympathetic tears,
It was perfectly designed, closely fitted and exactly right.