“It’s all upside down!” was the perfect remark by a 14-year old after our youth group (called “Jason’s House”) gathered in my cozy study to discuss the story of Christmas. We started by jotting all the words we associate with the story of Jesus’ birth on the white board:
Mary & Joseph
Magi / Wise men
I then took one word at a time and showed that when God chose to enter this world and rescue it from sin and death, He acted in all the wrong places and with all the wrong people. When God chose to launch His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven, he inaugurated a completely upside-down kind of Kingdom. Here’s the scoop:
While God could have chosen a royal family and famous queen from a prominent city, he chose Mary, a 14-year old peasant girl from a backwater village of Bethlehem, and her blue collar carpenter fiancé, Joseph, to give birth to the Savior.
While God could have come into this world as a powerful warrior in a chariot of fire, with divine armor and a display of invincibility, God came as a weak and vulnerable baby into a world where the infancy mortality rate was high.
Instead of a king born in a castle or fortress, surrounded by high walls and a drawbridge, the King of Kings was born in a stable and placed in a dirty feeding trough, or manger.
The angels should have first shared the royal announcement with Caesar and Herod and other world-influencers, but they instead shared the news with some lowly, dirty shepherds working the night shift under the stars. (And shepherds didn’t always have the best reputation.)
Certainly, a newborn king should be visited and receive gifts from other royal family, court advisors and well-to-do well-wishers, but Jesus is visited by Eastern astrologers (magi) following a star and practicing an art forbidden by the Jewish faith. The good news: God can even use a horoscope to lead someone to Himself and onto their knees in worship.
The Christmas story, which foreshadows the life and ministry of Jesus, is about God welcoming all the wrong people from all the wrong places into His Kingdom, and inviting us to go and do likewise!
‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’… ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full” (Luke 14:21, 23).
“God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful” (1 Cor. 1:27).
Yes, it’s all so upside down! That’s why we call our youth group “Jason’s House,” because in Acts 17:6 we read about a group of Christians hiding out in Jason’s house while others shouted on Main Street, “These men have come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are turning the world upside down and talking about another King named Jesus.”