Towards the end of “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, one of the Narnia books by C S Lewis, Lucy and Edmund are heartbroken when Aslan tells them that not only is it time to go back to their world, but that never again will they return to Narnia. Aslan explains that he has been in their world all along, and the children are amazed to come to realise that he was there all the time, but they just hadn’t recognised him – although they must now learn to know him by another name!
If we were told by God that He had rejected our present King, and wanted us to go and anoint His next choice of monarch, where would we start looking? For another Prince, or someone else groomed in the ways of Court? Or someone walking the corridors of power or fame or learning? When the seer Samuel was set such a task, he found it hard that the Lord bypassed the tall, handsome, well-built older sons of Jesse of Bethlehem, proven soldiers in King Saul’s army, and chose instead the youngest son David, a lithe, fresh-cheeked young lad, poet and song-writer of the heart, to be the next King.
1 Sam.16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Pay no attention to how tall and handsome he is. I have rejected him, because I do not judge as people judge. They look at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.”
Does this remind us of another story……. of some Magi searching for a baby born to be King of the Jews, to worship him, and going first to the royal palace of King Herod, the obvious place to start looking for a king? And then eventually finding him in the least likely of places, with the least likely mother and companions?
Isaiah describes the coming Messiah as “having nothing to cause us to take a second look, no outward marks of majesty or brilliance to set him apart from the crowd.” Perhaps it’s no wonder, as John said “He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
So this Christmas I’m going to look for Jesus, our Messiah, in unexpected places, (or unexpected palaces?), and learn, like Lucy and Edmund, to recognise him where I’d least expect. Join me?