An Advent Journey, 2013: Looking for the Light – Day Five


Give the king your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to a king’s son.

 May he judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
    and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the needy,
    and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
    like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
    and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
    may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.
       Psalm 72:1-7 18-19 – NRSV

A song for a king, written one thousand years before Jesus was born, yet somehow a song for him as well as for David. We are all ‘the needy,’ it seems to me. We need a royal visit, some patronage now and again, someone looking out for our best interests.

Is Jesus that one?

I choose to believe so, even when I’m puzzled by some of the things that happen in this world, that happen to me or the people I love. I surely don’t ‘get it’ much of the time. There are questions without answers, horrors without any visible saving grace, illness and hardship and death.

Even so, I will continue to choose this king, the one who came in squalor and loneliness, the one who doesn’t fit the job description most of us might design for a king.

Maybe that’s because we’ve got it all upside down and backwards. Maybe that’s because we are slow to know that ‘neediness’ can be defined in lots of different ways. Maybe it’s because God is in the business of standing things on their heads.

A king on a cross, that’s our story. With no political power, no financial acumen, no henchmen surrounding him to enforce whatever word he might care to proclaim. Yet he is, indeed, like “showers that water the earth,” bringing refreshment in the midst of drought, and the spring of new life to the trod-upon green. 

How can this be? This kingship without the pomp and circumstance?

It’s hard for us to grasp this truth, to release our expectations and look instead for the Humble One, the Broken One, the One who was left to die on the garbage heap outside of town. 

But look we must, and it starts with the simplest of things. The bloom of late roses, the angle of light across a wooden floor, the scent of sweetness on the evening breeze, if you live where I do. Where you are, it might come from the smoke spiraling up the chimney, the glistening of white on every twig, the bracing coldness of the frozen air. Small things, tiny points of light. Reminders that the King of the Universe disguises himself as a helpless newborn, spilled out onto the straw.

King Jesus! We call you that in ways we don’t begin to understand, yet we know them to be true. Remind us again of what royalty really looks like, help us to look for the rain, the moisture poured out in a dry and thirsty land. Help us to see you.


* As an added Advent bonus, I heartily recommend you click on this link and meander over to SheLoves fine post on Random Acts of Advent Kindness. I’m going to try and do this as often as possible and I encourage you all to check it out for yourselves.

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  1. Beautiful! Have you read N.T. Wright’s Simply Jesus? I just started it (and am really enjoying it), but your words here remind me of some of his points in the first chapter. I take it for granted that those first-century Jews had their expectations turned upside down when King Jesus arrived. Wright’s claim is that this is still true. We still keep Jesus bound up in our small preconceived box without recognizing how much MORE he is.
    So, I’m grateful today for your words and for Wright’s. I do usually need to hear things at least twice to get the message. 🙂

    • I have not read that Wright book and will look for it. Thanks for your kind words, Christie, and the book recommendation. And yes, indeed, it takes at least twice for me to learn much of anything!

  2. Yes, indeed. In the Christmas story we have intriguing juxtaposition. As you highlighted: a king on a cross, and refreshment in the midst of drought. He is the Messiah in a stable, the Light in our darkness. The list could go on. Such incongruous pairings do grab our attention, and point to the truth you present (so beautifully, as always): “God is in the business of standing things on their heads”–to draw our attention to Him! Thank you, Diana, for another thought-provoking post!