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In the opening scene of The Lion King, hundreds of animals come to visit baby Simba. Crowds celebrate his birth and bow down to the newborn prince because, one day, Simba will be King of the Pride Lands.

Sometimes, we talk about Christmas as the birth of a prince. When Gabriel speaks to Mary, it is easy to hear his words as a prophesy about the adult Jesus. We expect to hear a proclamation that Jesus will grow up and make something of himself. We expect to hear that Jesus will grow up and become Son of the Most High. He will become great. Jesus will be God’s anointed king and reign over an unfathomable kingdom.

The birth of a prince is comfortable and easy. It can be sugar-coated with admiration of the sweetly cooing baby. The prince is adorable and healthy. He will grow up and become powerful, just like any other king. Nothing is really new.

We are filled with awe to discover that we are witnessing an extraordinary birth. We are witnessing the birth of a King. Jesus will not become Lord; he already is Lord. Jesus will not become the Son of God; a vulnerable baby is I AM.

Knowing that our expectations will be shattered at Christmas, let us listen! Watching and waiting for the birth of hope, let us stay awake! Hear the newborn cry of the Gospel. For today in Nazareth, a young woman is growing great with child. And she is carrying God in her womb.

Lord Jesus, Help us to release our expectations of who a king should be. We find ourselves closing our ears and praising idols, but our hearts long to worship you alone. Fill our bodies with the hope of a newness that we cannot understand. Enter our hearts and hold our hands as we proclaim that God is born. Amen.

If you missed an entry in our Advent devotions series, please click here to see all previously posted devotions.