The wide open landscape stretched for miles—lit only by the few stars dotting the night sky. On the horizon, the silhouette of two people and a donkey provided a backdrop against the darkness. Silence echoed against silence until the whispers of bleating sheep added their chorus—a sure indication a shepherd was close by.
Before the break of day, silence was shattered by the cries of a newborn. The sound seemed to emanate from the rough-hewn timbers of a stable. Drawing closer, a donkey stomped its feet impatiently in the corner and a man and woman sat shoulder to shoulder admiring the baby the woman cradled in her arms.
Behold, the King of the Jews! The Messiah promised to save the world. He has arrived!
While the world waited in wonder and hope, another man demanded three wise men search for the child. King Herod proudly claimed the title, King of the Jews. The thought of a babe somewhere in Bethlehem claiming the same title put a dent in his ego.
This humble birth marked a time of intense conflict between man’s pride and the humility of our Savior.
Max Lucado, in his book, ‘Because of Bethlehem’, shares the story of how he watched a group of kids playing King of the Mountain. I remember doing the same with my brothers on a mound of dirt piled up in a construction zone for new houses. The object of the game is to be the last one standing at the top of the mountain or in our case the mound of dirt.
But as with any game, there are sacrifices made in order to reach the top and proclaim yourself the winner. King Herod wanted nothing more than to find this newborn Messiah because in his mind there was only one King of the Jews—himself. Herod couldn’t see beyond his own power and authority. Pride blocked his view of the grace and love that entered the world that night in the form of a baby. Instead, his haughty view of himself led him to become one of the most destructive kings of all time.
Max Lucado puts the game of King of the Mountain into perspective with these words:
King of the Mountain is not just a kid’s game. Versions are played in every dormitory, classroom, boardroom, and bedroom. And since mountaintop real estate is limited, people get shoved around. Mark it down: if you want to be king, someone is going to suffer. Pride comes at a high price.
What is pride blocking from your view? What is the posture of your heart when pride enters in? Will you allow yourself to put aside your pride in order to gain the gift of redemption that Jesus brought?
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