It’s funny how so much of the Nativity story that has passed into legend from regular retelling isn’t actually there in the original Biblical accounts – stable, three kings, not even a donkey. These things have been inferred rather than specifically mentioned.
Of course, there is a donkey in the Gospels but he appears near the end rather than the beginning:
‘Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see, your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.’
The King of kings, the Prince of Peace, enters his capital in triumphal procession on a humble donkey rather than a conqueror’s war horse. So maybe it’s not so wrong to assume a similar mode of transport for when his family brought him to their ancestral home for his entry to his earthly kingdom.
It’s all so different to recent births of royal babies in Britain – no expensive private hospital, no official presentation to the waiting press, no bullet proof car with full security detail for the journey home.
No, the Heavenly King we serve arrives as, well, ordinary.
And that’s how we find and serve Him still:
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
Surely this is how we should commemorate the birth of our King?