Today’s ornament is inscribed with a crown. In her reflection for the children, Zimmerman reflects that, “The Jewish people knew kings; they expected an earthly king” to come and rule over them. What they received was a, “tiny helpless baby.”
It must have taken a while, for those Jews who knew Jesus, to wrap their heads around the kind of king that he turned out to be. They were expecting the Messiah to liberate them from Roman rule, not the rule of sin. Jesus turned their world upside down.
I must confess that Jesus does the same thing to me.
Just when I think I am following his plan, when I am getting things figured out, Bam! I am slammed with the unexpected.
He asks me for more humility, for more patience, for more obedience than I think I possess. He takes me by the shoulders and turns me in another direction, bids me to follow him on rutted paths that may not be safe.
The temptation for me is to look for the other kind of King, one who will not ask me to step out of my comfort zone and learn a new way. I want the status quo so badly I can taste it. I want a cheery God who greets me with assurances that I have done my job well. One who lets me rest on my laurels.
For me, following Jesus is not ever quite what I expected. He always asks me to take the next step, just when I think the journey must be over.
As I hang the crown ornament on the Advent tree, I pray to be open to God’s will for my life. I pray for courage to continue on, wherever he leads.