Two thousand years ago, the people of Israel were anticipating the arrival of a King. It was a promise made through the prophets of the Old Testament like Jeremiah who proclaimed:
“The days are coming.” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”
Today, Christians thrill to the story of Jesus birth, but to the people of that time, a stable, a manger and shepherds were not the kind of circumstances anyone would expect for the birth of a king.
The fact is the Son of God wasn’t born like we expect a King to be born. He didn’t live like we expect a King to live, and he certainly didn’t die like we expect a King to die. But in the wisdom of God, he did far more than we ever anticipated and there was only one reason for it.
In 1980, the day before Christmas, Richard Ballenger’s mother in Anderson, South Carolina, asked her young son to shine her shoes. When he finished, Richard received a quarter for his efforts.
That evening, when Mom dressed for Christmas Eve Services there was a lump in her shoe. It was the quarter wrapped in paper on which Richard wrote, “I done it for love.”
At Christmas, we can picture God’s infant son lying in a manger, and somewhere in that makeshift crib, we can imagine a wadded up note that explains everything:
“I done it for love.”