Summary: We naturally want to be in control of our lives and focus on taking care of ourselves first. But Jesus set the example of being a servant.
If you were to ask me what my favorite TV show is right now, I think I would have to answer “West Wing.” I’m really enjoying the opportunity to see something of the inner workings of the white house and how policies come together.
Today’s text, the story of the birth of Jesus, leaves me thinking about the White House and the different entrances that it must have.
The White House has a main entrance where dignitaries arrive. It has a porch over it so they don’t have to worry about the rain as they get out of their cars. I imagine that most people who get to use that entrance have someone run out and open their car doors for them. Someone holds the front door open for them. The hallway is beautifully decorated. It must have a very expensive carpet, immaculately cleaned. Probably on some special occasions there are guards along the hallway who salute the highest of dignitaries. That’s the main entrance. If we could mix together the stories of the birth of Jesus and West Wing, then the person mentioned in the story of the birth of Jesus who would get to use the main entrance was the Roman Emperor Augustus.
Then, I’ll bet there are other entrances that are less formal. Maybe the president uses them on his day off or to walk the dog, but these entrances would mostly be used by people who have business there every day, perhaps the press secretary or speech writers or other people who work in the White House use those entrances. Here there is carpet, too, but probably a very practical, durable kind. I’m sure they are very nice, too, and people get a very nice welcome, but they are more practical, with much less fuss and fancy stuff.
But there have to be other entrances, too. I don’t remember seeing them on West Wing. But where do they take out the garbage? Which door does the pizza delivery guy use? How do the cook and the cleaning lady get out to their cars? Where does the mail come in? There has to be some door for all that kind of coming and going. And if it’s part of the White House, I’ll bet it still looks pretty nice. The floor is probably covered with tile. I’m sure there is a guard there, but he may not open the door for you. He’s probably there for security more than for courtesy. You might call that entrance the servant’s entrance. You come there to work, not to be served.
When Jesus, the Son of God, was born into this world, what type of entrance did he use? You would expect that he would use the main entrance. You would expect that he would be given every honor. You would expect that his arrival would be announced first to the movers and shakers of human society. You would expect that he would soon be accompanied by the strongest, the richest, the most beautiful, and the most powerful people on earth. You would expect him to arrive as an adult, and a strong, dominating adult, not as a child. But if he was determined to come as a child, you would at least expect him to come with the best medical care and most beautiful nursery furniture. But did Jesus enter this earth through the main entrance? Listen as I read our text for you, Luke 2:1-20.
1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." 13 Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,