Scripture Reading: Psalm 2:1-12
I like to be the first one awake at my house. However, I don’t like to set an alarm clock because of my dedication to the mysterious idea of sleep cycles. So instead, I play a pillow-cushioned game of Russian roulette every morning. When my body needs more sleep, I let the old girl sleep. But sometimes it all works out so that I have this gorgeous window of time—typing, planning, organizing—setting the stage for the day ahead before anyone else is awake.
One morning I was up at 5 a.m., feeling strong. I filled my arms full of things I wanted to carry into the kitchen: cups from last night, my phone, a clipboard, my little portable speaker, and a few rolls of washi tape ringed around my thumb. Juggling all of this in the dark, I preemptively nudged my phone to start playing some quiet piano music, because it usually takes a while to load.
But here are a couple things I didn’t know: First, my phone was already linked to the portable speaker. And second, everything was set at full volume. (Oh, and one thing you didn’t know: there were nine other people, too, sleeping nearby.) So in the pre-dawn light, on my way to some quiet, productive time in the kitchen, I found myself in the middle of the house, my arms uncomfortably full, clutching a speaker that was inexplicably bellowing the climax from Handel’s Messiah: “WOR-THY IS THE LAMB, THAT WAS SLAIN!”
I circled around like a toy car, fumbling to turn the music off in the dark, and somehow succeeded in making the volume louder still—probably because my eyes were mostly squinted shut from laughing. And since you can’t shush a speaker, it took me a while to get quiet again.
I think we sometimes want to keep Jesus in a little quiet box too. The title of today’s reading is “A Prayer Celebrating the Gift of Jesus,” and honestly, I’d expected to be writing about a sweet Christmas baby Jesus as our joy to the world. But this psalm is about the almighty dominion of Christ. He did come as a baby, yes, but He is also the omnipotent King of kings.
The psalmist calls us to “serve the Lord with reverential awe, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). He is a God we cannot control and cannot fully comprehend. Our proper response is to worship Him. It’s easier to think of Jesus as our pocket-sized best friend, but we need to remember that He rules and reigns the cosmos. He is a paradox, making His love for us all the more potent. We must pay Him homage, for He is our King, and all who take refuge in Him are happy.
This paradox is a beautiful and central tenet of our faith: “kiss the Son, lest He be angry” (v.12). Our God comes low to love mankind, but He remains just and unchanging, righteous and holy. We are sloppy and funny and sneaky. His love for His wishy-washy creation is so wonderful, but it doesn’t change who He is; who He has always been—the King of all creation. So we worship at the feet of this mystery we cannot control. And we celebrate the gift of Jesus, both as a baby and as King.